There is an article that I use as a bookmark, its pages are stiff and yellowed with age and they mark my place in Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster. I’ve been moving through slowly, reading parts here and there as I take it all in again. This book is one of the staples of my library and the only book I brought with me to Guam besides my Bible.
The article was written by Dr. Ralph Byron Jr. and it shares the story of how he was convicted to incorporate one hour of prayer each day into his life. He started out timing his daily prayers and realizing they lasted about 40 seconds, then moved to getting up early each morning to pray and after two weeks of the experiment he said that “God was not only becoming real to me, he was becoming the meaning in all reality, and the hour which had started out seeming so long now became more and more precious.”
I don’t say this because I’ve decided to pray for an hour each day. If I were going to do that it would first start out as a secret alter (see my earlier post!) and later become something that I could share with you. But I say this because prayer has begun to change my heart and I wanted to share my small victories with you.
Remember my post about using Facebook friends lists to create an environment for forgiveness? (Read it here.) I’ve been diligently viewing the updates for awhile now, but not specifically with prayer in mind. (I know I said I was going to pray, but I haven’t really.) So that convicted me rather harshly and I decided that from now on I need to pray for each status update of each person. My first prayers went something like this…
“Lord, please be with _____ in her situation today. Please help it go well, amen. Okay, okay.. uhhh, please help her to really listen to you and stop being so.. I mean, please give her.. wisdom. Help her to be open to your guidance and continue to teach her. And for _____, Father, give her amazing opportunities. Please give her an epic life beyond her imagination.”
Do you see the changes? Do you see my heart growing slightly less callous and bitter? Do you see the mortal wound of sin in my life being slowly healed as he pours out his love and changes my heart of stone to one of flesh? I am learning to love my enemy, even if that just means my petty high school rival-ish type enemy or my adult selfish know-it-all enemy.
Do you have any practical advice to forgive the people in your life?