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Praying Blessings

2017 - We'd moved away from all of our friends and our church family to somewhere new. We were so lonely and so full of heartache and regret. So much had transpired in this quick decision to move…it felt as if it happened overnight. And to be truthful…it almost did. One day we had decided to stay and ride the storm out and find a new way to live in the middle of the mess I had made for our family and our church. I’d find a new job, we’d figure out what my husband was going to do…I mean, our whole lives were invested in this church and this could we leave? But I had made some decisions I couldn’t “undo” and hurt people deeply. How would I even begin to pay for these “mistakes”…these sins?

Overnight, it became extremely volatile. We couldn’t stay. There was no room for us anymore and it was clear we weren’t going to be able to get healthy and healed in this place. So - overnight - we made the decision to leave town in 4 weeks and start again somewhere new, close to family so we’d have help and support to get healthy and healed. 

4 weeks flew by and moved in slow motion all at once. 4 weeks wasn’t enough time to pack a house and say goodbyes to the people who still wanted to see us. 4 weeks was too much time to hang around a place we weren’t very welcomed. It was a small town…there was no hiding. 4 weeks and all our belongings were packed hastily into a u-haul and driven over 2500 miles to the other side of the country to start again. 

We were in a new place with new faces and people who wanted to help and love us…there was no baggage here with these people…but I was stuck. All I could hear in my head were the voices of two men from our old, small town life and their judgement over me...their discouragement. Discouragement is a nice word for it. I’m not saying I didn’t earn it. I did. I earned all of their scorn and shame. I earned all of their disappointment and discouragement. I earned all of their disgust. 

I just couldn't live with it. 

We needed loads of help and forgiveness. We hadn’t earned it, but we needed support and love. And they just didn’t have it to give. Not to us. Not to me. 

I couldn’t move on. It was tormenting me…their words running on repeat in my head day and night. We had been going to counseling, had marriage mentors, were living with family, and surrounding ourselves with Jesus and His Bride and I still couldn’t get healed. I was afraid of people…if they knew. If they saw me for who I really am…they’d say the same things those two men said. How was I going to break free from this? Every time I thought of those words, first - I would be crushed under their weight, and then - I would feel some righteous anger. 

“How does this look like Jesus?”

“Is this how He would have responded to me in my time of need covered in my own sin?”

I found as I was moving out of my deep shame into forgiveness for myself, I still had a forgiveness problem…these two men. Every time I thought of them, something in me gave an angry shudder. My face would heat up, my heart would pound, and I couldn’t think of them without unforgiveness.

I was carrying the unforgiveness that had offended my heart so deeply when it was carried against me. 

I went to the Lord…

“I can’t live like this. I need to move on and I just can’t. I’m scared and angry all the time. Will I be able to do ministry again without hearing their discouraging words? Will I be able to serve you again without feeling like a fake? I can’t live like this Lord!”

His response to that prayer? Pray for them. 

“…bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” Luke 6:28

Sunday mornings were the hardest for me. I felt like a fraud going to serve in the church after the life I had lived just months ago. I would hear the words of those two men echo in my head the entire drive to church and just cry. Who am I to be doing this? Why would God ever use me again? I’m a fake. I’m a fraud…

Pray for them, Lyndsay.

I began to spend my rides to church on Sundays in prayer. I’d pray for those two men by name and instead of praying for what I “knew they needed” I just began to pray blessings over them. 

“Bless those who curse you…”

I’d pray for blessings of wisdom, finances, friendships, their marriages, their children, the churches they loved and served. I’d pray for blessings in their workplace and for the advancement of their careers. I’d pray for blessings over them until I parked my car at the church and turned off the engine. 

It started out rough. I wasn't sure I really wanted to bless them. My heart wasn't fully in it to be truthful. But I began this journey of praying blessings over those who cursed me out of obedience to the Lord. I needed to give the Lord my yes after so many months of telling the Lord no. Look where that got me. So I said yes and prayed blessings. I did this for months. And over time, when I thought of those two men, the hardness of my heart had chipped away and I was honestly, truly, unbelievably so, tender toward them. I had no more anger or hatred or unforgiveness harbored in my heart. I can think of them without remembering their words - I don't even remember what exactly was said anymore. I can think of them and feel love for the good they did in my life for the time they were in it. And through those months of prayer for those men, the Lord removed my fear of new friendships, my lack of confidence in serving Him, and renewed in me the calling he placed on my heart years ago. I was free. Free of their shame and free of my anger. Free of my fear and insecurities. 

“For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.” Romans 11:29

When I had a forgiveness problem…

When I had a relationship problem…

When I had a ministry problem…

When I had a confidence problem…

My freedom was not found in people praying for me, some emotional or mystical experience in the presence of God, not deliverance, not anointing, not impartation, not anything except…

“…bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” Luke 6:28

All of those problems stemmed from a PRAYER problem. And when I finally just took the time to meet with the Lord in prayer - not even for myself - but for those who cursed or abused me (I had done plenty of that myself too), all of my other problems seemed to fade away or solve themselves. 

Whatever you’re going through right now, no matter how dark or lonely, how scary or confusing…your answer is prayer. 

If you are struggling with forgiveness or bitterness - pray blessings over those who curse and abuse you. Pray them whether you believe it yet or not. Do it out of obedience…the Lord will change your heart. 

If you are struggling with your calling…maybe you did something “unforgivable” and you think you can never serve the Lord again - your answer is prayer. 

Prayer is treated as secondary so often isn’t it? We feel the need to DO something, not just say something to the ceiling. We need ACTION and we need it now!

Sis, prayer is letting the God who sees past, present, and future perfectly into your situation to work it out for your good and His glory. Prayer is admitting you don’t have the answers, but you know the one who does. Prayer is laying down your own plans to take up the perfect plans of your Heavenly Father who loves you. Prayer is heart to heart connection with the only person who can actually do anything to fix the problem, heal the hurt, or calm the situation. Prayer is our primary way to influence any situation we are in with all the power of Heaven. How dare we belittle our belittles our God. 

Whatever you’re struggling with right now…you don’t need action. You need prayer. You don't need answers, you don't need them to love you or accept you, you don't need FIRST need prayer.

Let me pray with you, sis.

Lord Jesus, you see perfectly into our hearts and our homes and situations. You know our greatest needs when we don't even know them. Would you come and look into our hearts right now? Would you let us know what you see? Maybe my sister needs to be reminded that she has been forgiven. Or maybe that you have a purpose for her life. Or that man's words don't determine her future. You know what her heart needs right now. Would you just speak? Would you talk to us in the quiet parts of our hearts and let us know what we should be coming to you to get right now? You have all that we need. Help us to be quiet before you and listen to your voice. We love you. Forgive us for when we have belittled prayer. Forgive us for the times we turn to you last instead of first. Remind us of the truth that YOU hold our futures, that the world turns because you move it, that nothing happens without first passing through your hands. Thank you for speaking to us. We love you, Jesus. Amen.

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