By Karen Swank
You asked me once what I pray for you. I was busy, buried under the mountain that the “to do” list had become, working every minute I was awake and functioning on only a few hours’ sleep most nights, and said I’d tell you more later when I got dug out a bit.
But that was only partly true. I really was quite swamped, but that might not have been the whole reason I didn’t talk it through with you. After all, regardless of how much time I don’t have, praying for you is a priority in my life.
It’s just that some places are so intimate that they won’t fit inside of words. The gap where I stand, pleading on your behalf with the One Who loves you even more than I do (something I can scarcely fathom), is one of those places. When I am asked about that place, I tend to give light answers like “I pray lots of good stuff for you.” It’s an easy truth, intended to deflect further questioning and change the subject.
But you asked, and the truth is that what I do on your behalf in prayer is not some sort of voodoo hocus pocus magic witchcraft thing. So it need not be held in secret – the beauty of truth is that it does not require the cover of darkness. You want to know how I pray for you? You got it.
It always starts with gratitude. The fact that He loved me enough to give me you to love…it perpetually astonishes me. How can it be so? I didn’t earn this gift. If we were to get right down to what I have earned, I’d be alone in some bleak and dismal room. But He loves so much better than our perceived worth. So as I come carrying this gift that is you close to my heart, I am undone. Yeah, I pretty much always start with shocked and happy tears.
And then there is this little mutual celebration time. Holy Spirit and I…we just look at you together and say to one another how beautiful you are. We talk about things you’ve said and done. We never get tired of talking to each other about how great you are. We wish together that you could see yourself as we see you. There would be so much freedom in it for you. This is an important part of what heaven will be: finally, you will see yourself as He does. Oh, I can hardly wait for that!
And this conversation…it’s not like 2 clueless and distant relatives who don’t know the half of your story and think you are better behaved than you really are. I mean, we see you in the whole (obviously He sees MUCH more clearly than I do). We see your struggles and your falling down, but in this place, those don’t diminish you at all. In this place, struggles and falling down are not obstacles to the view of this truth: you are made in His image. You are infinitely more wonderful than you begin to imagine.
The fact that I get a peek at this makes me feel like His Very Favorite Person. And the truth is, He is especially fond of me. And the truth is equally, He is especially fond of you.
A miracle in the midst of this conversation is that He teaches me much about the way He loves me, as He loves you through me. It’s been very hard for me to understand or believe in love that never wavers, no matter how much I screw up. I know you understand what I am saying there…it’s part of our common ground. I wouldn’t dare to imagine the magnitude of His love for me, except that He gives me a view to it in my relationship with you. Even when you’ve hurled your very worst at me, it hasn’t diminished my love for you or my view of you by even the tiniest bit. If that’s true about my love for you, it’s immensely more true about His love for both of us.
But enough about me.
Some of the other things I pray along the way for you:
*I thank Him that He finishes what He starts. He has started an amazing work in you. You are not where you were when it started…nor where you’ll be in its completion. This is very good, and is a great comfort to me when circumstances might tempt me to believe the process has been abandoned. He is working in you and through you and He’ll Never Quit. Period.
*I thank Him that what others might have meant for evil, He is working for good in your life. You’ve been lied to and lied about. You’ve been blamed for much that isn’t yours to carry…sometimes that blame came from others, and sometimes you’ve simply blamed yourself. Your actions and intentions have been misunderstood and maligned by some who should have given you the benefit of the doubt. You have been abandoned by family and friends for reasons that had nothing to do with you and everything to do with their own demons. You have been seduced into self-destructive choices. All of these things and so much more could be used by an enemy to destroy you. I kneel at the Father’s feet, rejoicing that He can use every one of these things for good in your life, despite what the Great Liar tries to tell you every day.
*I thank Him for things that I see in/for you. Some of those are now; some are yet to come. Still, they are. These include (and I’m surely not remembering every one of them while I put them on the page):
*That you are blessed as only His children can be. That you hear and follow His voice, so you are blessed when you come and when you go. Blessed in your family, in your property, and in your finances. Blessed in your body. Blessed wherever you go. Blessed in the face of your enemies.
*That you hunger and thirst after truth and righteousness.
*That you know and understand His Word. That you can never get enough of it. That you continue searching out and finding the truth in it about who He is and who you are in Him.
*That you are both bold and gentle in speaking His truth.
*That you walk in the fullness of His plan for you…this means that you don’t miss the good stuff!
*That you are His voice to people who would never approach “the church.”
*That you lay down the things you hold that are hurting you, stealing from you, and killing you, and know true freedom.
*That you find the “secret place” that is intimacy with Him, and you are ruined for anything less.
*That He gives you favor with people and access to the places He most desires you to go.
*And of course I pray for those surrounding you. Their touch on your life demands it. Your touch on their lives requires it. Praying for you inherently ripples outward. This is part of God’s economy, which is too deep a thing for me to explain.
How do I pray for you? Well, that’s the part that words can capture. There’s more to it, but sometimes, you just have to be there, you know? I spend a lot of time there – I prayed for you when I woke in the night, when I woke in the morning, and throughout my day I’ll pray for you again, as I tackle that “to do” list.
My life might look ordinary. But from an inside view, it’s anything but. The time I’ve spent in prayer for you…it’s an incredible item on the list of reasons that I am forever wrecked for the ordinary.
Karen is from Aledo, IL. She went to Monmouth College and studied Latin and English. She is a biological mom of two children and surrogate mom/friend/advocate for a whole host of children. She would like to meet every wounded soul that I’ve she’s ever known… as a child, before the “damage was done” so she could tell them how much they are loved.