Luke 6:38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again.
We've often heard this scripture used regarding the giving of our tithes and our offerings. It is a good scripture for those purposes; however, God showed me something else in this scripture passage regarding prayer, and how we get our prayers answered. Notice the last part of this passage, it says, "...For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again." God is saying that to the same degree that we give towards praying for someone else's problems is the same degree that God will give in regards to our prayers.
People are selfish in nature. We have a tendency to pray for and about things that only deal with us and our personal and family problems and issues. We feel that if we can just pray hard enough, long enough and fervent enough, that God will eventually answer our prayers.
As a result, the average Christian spends 90 to 95 percent (and in many cases all) of their prayer time praying for their own personal issues and problems, believing that the more they pray about an issue, the more God will give attention and regards to answer their prayers. But I think that prayer works somewhat different. Contrary to belief, based upon scripture, I believe that our prayers are not necessarily answered based upon our diligence in praying for ourselves, but rather, in our heart and diligence in praying for others.
James 4:2-3 "... yet ye have not, because ye ask not. Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss that ye may consume it upon your lusts.
James is saying here the same thing. When we do ask in prayer, we don't understand the methods and basics of prayer, and as a result, we ask the wrong way. And, when we do ask, we want to consume all of our heart and passion on our own lust, which is our own wants, needs and desires.
Effective praying goes far beyond praying for our own needs and desires to be met. It is to also pray for the needs and desires for others to be met. And, not only that, effective praying is to also pray with a heart of compassion for others when we do pray.
Ezekiel 22:30 And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it: but I found none.
As we look at the above passage, it may sound like God is saying, out of a whole nation of people, He could not find anyone to pray. But that's not at all what God is saying. It wasn't that He could not find anyone praying. In fact, I believe that there were many people praying, if not most of them. The problem was that He could not find anyone with a true heart to intercede (make up the hedge and stand in the gap) for others. I believe the reason for this is because everyone was so busy praying for their own problems and issues that they didn't put any heart and passion into praying for the problems and issues of others.
We understand that we must pray for others, but to truly be effective in praying for others, we must not only have a mind to do it, but the heart to do it also. We can do many things simply out of obedience, and our heart not be in it. For example: God commands us to give. But the ones he acknowledges and applauds in their giving are the ones who give with a cheerful and willingly heart. In fact, God even instructs us not to give with a grudging heart. Likewise in prayer, to be effective in praying for others, we must not only be willing to do it, but willing to do it with a heart of compassion.
All throughout the New Testament, you will often find that before Jesus healed someone, He was moved with compassion for them. When we pray for someone, we must also have compassion for them. One way of doing this is to simply put ourselves in that person's shoes for a moment. We must imagine that we are in that situation, or that it's our spouse, parent, or child in need. When we do that, our prayer for that person will take on a whole new dimension. Instead of them being simply a number on our prayer list, they will become a real, true person because we identify with them. And, this will help us to then pray for them with compassion.
When we pray like that with a heart for that person, we can then touch the heart of God. I know that God hears each and every one of our prayers. But I believe that the prayers that truly touch the heart of God are the ones that are prayed with a heart of conviction and compassion on the behalf of others. And when we touch the heart of God in our prayers for others, we also touch His heart in our prayers.
Luke 6:38 "... For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again."
When we are petitioning God to answer our prayers, we want God's heart to be moved with compassion for us as His children and answer our prayers. So, when we pray for others – not simply out of obedience, but with a willing heart of compassion, God is saying, that is the same measure that He is going to give in meeting our needs and answering our prayers.
If you need God to meet your needs in your life, don't just spend all of your time praying for yourself that your needs will be met and answered, find someone else to pray for, put yourself in their place, and pray for them with a heart of conviction and compassion. And when you release a heart of compassion, care and fervency upon them, God will cause that same degree of compassion, care and fervency to also be released upon your life and your prayer petition. And I believe that this type of heart-felt prayer for others will result in answered prayers in your life.

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Comment by Ron on December 3, 2008 at 9:18am
Novel thought, I agree we should spend significant time in prayer for others. NJB 1 Timothy 2:8 In every place, then, I want the men to lift their hands up reverently in prayer, with no anger or argument. NLT James 5:16 Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results.
Comment by Coretta McClain on December 1, 2008 at 7:53am
Very Good Blog. I truly believe God wants us to be Selfless, instead of Selfish.

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