Permission granted: Pray

permission-grantedThey may be out there, but I haven’t met them yet—the ones who can honestly say, “Oh yes, my prayer life couldn’t be better!”

Instead, most everybody I know, including me, admits our praying could use more cultivating.

So when I left Outdoor Church again Saturday without having prayed with my friend Brea, I knew my prayer practice still needed more, well . . . practice. After all, wasn’t it just a month ago that I did the exact same thing?

Last month Brea was worried about her ex-husband (she has a big heart, my friend Brea). She said he wasn’t doing well financially or physically and she was concerned. I told her I’d be praying.

This month she told me the doctor found spots on her lung. She has an appointment Thursday. I asked her if she was scared. She said she doesn’t want to know what it is. But, she also said, it is what it is, and regardless, God is still wonderful.

Again, I said I’d be praying.

And I have been praying for her. Privately. That’s fine; God hears. It’s good.

But what I wanted to do, what I meant to do—and what I’d been convicted to do—was pray for her with her.

  • After the sermon, I’ll do it.
  • No? Then before lunch is served, I’ll do it.
  • But now . . . I’m back home again. And I never did it.

I don’t even know why.

She wouldn’t have thought me weird, I know that. And I don’t mind praying aloud with others; I find it a joy.

So why do I hesitate to initiate? Am I waiting for someone to grant me permission to speak? To talk to God out loud only when asked?

I know it’s irrational. God made this clear to me long ago—we have his permission to pray aloud.

Granted, let’s still ask permission from others before we launch into prayer over them.

But we don’t have to ask permission from God. He approves.

Prayer doesn’t have to be only between God and me. It can also be between God and me—and you.

I think he’s quite happy when we pull him more directly into our conversations anywhere, anytime.

I can’t regain the opportunity I lost last Saturday to pray together with Brea for her peace about Thursday. I’ll have to just keep praying for her by myself.

And keep praying for myself, that next time, I won’t wait for her to ask me to pray; I’ll ask her instead if I can. I’ve got a feeling she’ll say, “Of course!” And that God will say, “Good!”   

* * *

November is my month for The Practice of Being Present to God (i.e., prayer). I hope to practice initiating prayer more with others.

How often do you ask others on the spot if you can pray together?

In what ways would you like to improve your practice of prayer?


Spiritual disciplines this year from An Altar in the World:

29 thoughts on “Permission granted: Pray

  1. Dianna

    Well, not often enough, I am afraid. I find myself too often saying I will pray for a person, but to actually pray with them right then and there…out loud…that they would hear their name being lifted to God by me…not nearly often enough. Thank you, Lisa, for openly sharing here today. Love you!

  2. Mia

    Dear Lisa
    Your post reminds me of Tante Corrie Ten Boom and her sister Betsie when they were imprisoned in Ravensbrück. They would walk together at night, talking and they heard Jesus talking to them as well. Yes, where two or more are gathered in His name, He WILL be there!
    Blessings XX

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      A lovely story to bring in here, Mia. Corrie and Betsie are Christian heroines to me. The strength and faith and love they showed during horrendous times is SO inspiring.

  3. Ceil

    Hi Lisa! I can so totally relate to this post. I really felt called to pray with people, but was always hesitant because I didn’t want to scare them off. The last thing anyone needs is some nut like me, approaching and asking to pray with them right?

    Wrong. I am not a nut. I am a follower of the Lord. He loves to hear our faithful prayers, and we would ‘two gathered together.’ He would be there. But still I struggled. I still do.

    God should be enough for me. If he puts it in my heart to pray with someone, then I should try. He doesn’t usually make mistakes! I hope you will continue to pray with and for people. God is calling you, and wants to use your faith for him. What an honor!
    Blessings 🙂

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Such encouraging words, Ceil. I appreciate this so much:
      “Wrong. I am not a nut. I am a follower of the Lord.”
      I love when my friends ask if they can pray for me; why would I think they wouldn’t appreciate that in return?

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks, Rachel. And I love what you posted today on purity and finding our way through the “rules.” Good food for thought and prompts for talks–and opportunities for us to pray with others.

  4. PL

    Pray /with/ someone!? Wow. … That sounds very intimate.

    Just like your recent church post, this will trigger fantasies.

    I am happy with my prayer practice — possibly because I’m just a beginner. It’s deepening. I’m more than happy with it being private and secret. I’d like to drop into that prayer state during the day e.g. when I’m at work, but that will come.

    Wonderful blog!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I think your blooming prayer practice is delightful. And yes, it can eventually flood into all of life, wherever you are. That’s one thing that I love about prayer; we can talk to God and listen to God wherever we are, in any situation. Remembering to stay aware of that is key for me.

  5. Joan

    It’s a strange thing, isn’t it? To hesitate to pray with someone out loud? For me it’s been a feeling of awkwardness, but I shouldn’t let that happen! Thanks for the encouragement to respond when God nudges…

    Blessings, Joan

    1. Lisa notes...

      I often don’t even think about it either. After I left Jenna’s yesterday, I realized I didn’t offer to pray over her for an audition she had coming up. Didn’t even cross my mind until I was gone.

  6. Tracy

    Hi Lisa, I too need a lot more prayer practice. One thing I have tried to do is if I say I’m going to pray for someone, I make a note, more than mental cos that just gets lost in my head, nope I have to put a reminder on my phone, or write it down! So that I DO actually pray as I said I would. I love that you take this further and pray for someone with them. A new step for me to take too. Hmmm,
    God bless

    1. Lisa notes...

      I have to make physical notes, too, Tracy, or else I forget. I have gotten out of the habit though of writing it down, so I’m starting a new prayer journal to jump-start me back into that, Lord willing!

  7. Jerralea

    Lisa, I’m always hesitant to pray out loud with others, too. I don’t know why I have trouble speaking a prayer – now if anyone asked me to write them a prayer, it would be easy-peasy for me.

    I think the key, for me anyway, is to pray scripture with people. You can’t go wrong on praying God’s word!

    1. Lisa notes...

      And yet some people would have trouble writing a prayer. The Lord does gift us all in different ways. I guess I want to be a natural with all the gifts. ha. And that’s not possible or even advantageous. Praying scripture with people is a great suggestion. Thanks for sharing that, Jerralea.

  8. Elizabeth Stewart

    Lisa, as a pastor’s wife so many people ask me to pray for them. I always do so immediately with them if possible, because I hate it when I say I’ll pray and then forget to! (Oh, the shame when they come and thank me for praying because the prayer was answered and I’d forgotten to pray!)

    1. Lisa notes...

      Doing it immediately is good on so many levels, yes? I know that feeling of being thanked for prayers and realizing I had totally forgotten….not happy with myself either when that happens. So thankful God is bigger than our efforts and memories!

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