The Anatomy Of Prayer - Its Meaning And Purpose (Part 5 of 5)
- The disposition to bless others in prayer is a God-given spiritual gift. Believers cannot have this gift unless they
persistently CLAIM it in prayer, and RECEIVE it in faith. As James, our Lord's brother, puts it: "You do not have, because you do not ask." Blessing others habitually in prayer is crucial to a victorious abundant life in Christ Jesus. Just as one who waters will oneself be watered, one who blesses others in prayer will oneself be blessed. Psalm109:17 bears out this truth very clearly. "He loved to curse; let curses come on him! He did not like blessing; may it be far from him!"
When we invoke God's blessings on others in Jesus' name, our prayer is called 'vicarious prayer'. Vicarious prayer may be said in privacy at home or elsewhere. The effectiveness of vicarious prayer depends on two factors - (i) Visualization and (ii) Empathizing. Visualization means seeing with the heart's eyes the face(s) of those we are praying for, and the heavenly outpouring of desired blessings on them. On the other hand, empathizing is identifying ourselves with those being prayed for and with their plight. Vicarious prayer on behalf of the children and the youth of our Church is to empower them to fulfill God's plan and purpose for their lives. Likewise, vicarious prayer is also to be said for ALL parents in our Church, and especially for those in distress, and in need of comfort, healing or employment.
Anticipating the present age we live in, Jesus affirms: "And because wickedness is multiplied, most men's love will grow cold." (Mt. 24:12) Further, He forebodingly points to the present generation as follows: "Nevertheless, when the Son of man comes, will He find faith on earth?" (Lk. 18:8) St. Paul elaborates on it by adding that men will be "lovers of self, lovers of money," ... ... and "lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God," while holding the form of religion, but denying its power. (2 Tim. 3:2-5) In such a LOVELESS AND FAITHLESS AGE, prayer can ONLY be about oneself, one's spouse and children and the nearest of one's kith and kin. But a Church of 'ONE ACCORD' cannot evolve from such self-centered prayers. 'One accord' is the offshoot of BIFOCAL prayer that invokes blessings not only ON SELF, but also ON ALL OTHERS in the Church collectively.
I CONCLUDE with the sincere prayer, may the Compassionate Lord's consolations cheer our souls when the cares of our hearts are many.
Nakkolackal V. L. Eapen,