Praying Outside the Lines

Prayer Letterpress

Take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires. James 1:19-20 (NIV)

Have you ever thought about praying outside the lines, taking a different perspective, interceding from the other person’s point of view? Maybe? Maybe not? Consider the following prayer:

Heavenly Father . . .

Please help me remember that the doddering old lady inching her way down the supermarket aisle and blocking my progress isn’t doing so to annoy me but because her arthritis is so painful she can’t move any faster.

Please help me remember that the driver in the car ahead of me who cut me off, caused me to slam on the brakes, rattled my nerves, and still isn’t aware of my existence, is a young father deep in thought because he’s just been fired and is wondering how he’s going to break the news to his wife and three young children.

Please help me remember that the clerk with a scowl on her face and sullen ways is in the state she’s in because she’s locked into an abusive relationship with a boyfriend who treats her like dirt.

Remind me Lord that the bag lady who begs for money outside the post office every day is a slave to addictions beyond her control.

Help me remember that the rude, aggressive, in my face relative is the way he is because he had a father who said he’d never amount to anything, constantly put him down, and kicked him out to fend for himself the day he turned eighteen.

Then Lord, as You well know, there’s the red spiky hair, pierced lip and eyebrow, black garbed, chain dangling youngster who struts down the sidewalk with a defiant stare for anyone who catches his eye. Remind me of how he’s desperate for attention, searching for real love, looking for answers, wondering if anyone truly cares.

I could go on Lord. You know all about the grumpy old man whose wife passed away last year after an agonising struggle with ovarian cancer. You know about the disinterested college student at the hardware store who gave me the wrong fasteners because he was apprehensive over his final exams and hadn’t heard whether or not he was going to get a student loan for the next semester. And You know about the florid faced neighbour who ignores me every time I greet him because he’s fighting a battle with the bottle and trying to pluck up courage to attend Alcoholics Anonymous.

Lord help me be slow to anger, quick to forgive, and patient with everyone. Help me open my heart to others as You open Your heart to all. For Your honour and glory.

Amen.

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