Talk of freedom, sounds, of freedom, songs of freedom—they’re in the air. In the United States, we recently celebrated Juneteenth and just yesterday we celebrated Fourth of July/Independence Day. Many countries will celebrate Emancipation Day on August 1, coming up smartly just around the corner. Indeed, it is a time of freedom celebration and talk, sounds, and songs. Are we engaging in freedom praying?
As you celebrate, you may find yourself say, “thank God I’m free!” You express your gratitude to God for being free. However, in doing this, you may restrict yourself by building boundaries that keep out true freedom praying. You see these boundaries in the wording and intent of your thankfulness and prayer. Here is how it goes.
Generally, you’re just thankful for our freedom. What’s happening with others does not bother you. If you do think of them, too often it’s with a certain smugness accompanying this thankfulness that borders on the Pharisee’s prayer:
“The Pharisee, standing by himself, was praying thus, ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people: thieves, rogues, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give a tenth of all my income’” (Luke 18:11–12).
You’re not like them, thank God! In other words, you’re better, they are to be pitied. You have no or limited compassion for them. It’s like when you say “God bless_______________.” It’s easy to pray God bless (name of our country) and that’s it. You are not concerned with what happens with others. Sometimes it’s even worse. You want God to bless your country and not others, or more than God blesses others. That’s not freedom praying.
Removing the Boundaries To Freedom Praying
Just yesterday, a friend and I had this conversation about the need for a broader vision. She reminded me of something I’ve written in my forthcoming book. I share it with you here:
In addition, God has a wide circle. We read that God loves the world. That’s huge. . . . Pray for people you know and people you don’t know. Widen your circle of care. Pray for people you like and don’t like and those who don’t like you. Reflect God. Identify various community and global situations and specific parts of the world for which you will pray, as God leads. Surrender your prayers to be in line with God’s circle.
Here then are 4 ways to remove these boundaries:
- Ask God for an all-inclusive vision so that you embrace and care for the world that God loves. When you give God thanks for your freedom, lift up those who are not free.
- Be specific as you pray. Allow God to lay two or three countries and/or groups of people who are not free for whom you will specifically pray regularly.
- Recognize that you enjoy your freedom not because of any intrinsic worth but because of your location and the sacrifice of others. Give God thanks for them.
- For full freedom praying, back up your prayers with action:
- Do your part to ensure that the ones who made these sacrifices who still live are valued and cared for.
- Do what you can to help others to be free.
Are you ready for freedom praying?
Experience God more fully through honest, surrendered, heart praying and live with greater clarity and peace.
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