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Positive Prayer Power
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We all have people we pray for. At least those of us who believe that there is a God who hears and answers prayer. Maybe it’s a child who has drifted away from God. Or maybe it’s a parent who has not yet found the Lord in a personal way. It could be a spouse who just doesn’t understand what your attraction to spiritual things is all about. Many times, we find ourselves praying for someone who is downright mean.

Whatever the call to prayer, we know that God is needed to bring positive change. Naturally, our prayers often include requests for the negative traits to be removed. That’s understandable, right? We might pray, Lord, please help my wife to stop ridiculing my faith. Or God, please show my boss how hurtful his comments are to me. Those are valid prayers, and I believe God answers those prayers. In fact, I know God answers them. But I can’t help but consider how effective God’s intervention could be if we would pray prayers of thanks for that person’s good traits and then ask God to work out of those.

For example, Lord, my wife has such a kind heart in so many ways. Please work out of that natural kindness and build on it. Or God, I’m grateful for the things my boss has taught me. Please build out of his positive leadership qualities.

Choke Out Bad Traits

When you think about it, praying for God to build on a person’s strengths is bound to eventually choke out the bad traits. Or at least make them less dominant. And a prayer that is always powerful for anyone we are praying for (including ourselves) is simply a prayer to be more like Jesus. After all, doesn’t that cover just about everything? If a person who is usually condemning becomes more like Jesus, the critical nature will take care of itself, right? If someone who has turned from God is encouraged in areas of her life that are in line with the character of Jesus, perhaps she will be less drawn to other distractions?

Of course, we should pray for whatever is on our hearts. And often that includes details of things that truly do need to be altered. But it can also be rewarding to pray for the good to be nurtured and watch the bad lose ground.

The Bible says, “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things ” (Philippians 4:8).

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By Gwen Scott Simmons. Copyright © 2012 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW KING JAMES VERSION © 1982.

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