Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Pray It Forward

I don’t pray right. I pray too often behind the problem. It is Monday morning and I’m watching the press conference in which the much anticipated Ford Restructuring Plan is being explained. People are losing their jobs. Bill Ford, CEO of his great grandfather’s company is talking about plans, damage control, what will and won’t happen, what Ford does and does not stand for. I’m watching him with a slight headache from worry about the Mr. and all of those dependent on the automotive industry. I’m trying to focus in and understand everything he’s saying although much is flying over my head. I’m trying to read the crawl on the bottom of the screen listing the locations of the plant cuts and closing. I’m trying to pray for the Mr., who I know is in Flatrock watching and wondering with greater tension than I have. I’m trying to “get it”. I hate financial/economic stuff.
Lots of it is flying over my head even as I’m grasping at the enormity and trying to comprehend what it all will mean when the pretty words are sifted away. But it occurs to me, I don’t pray right. I am praying behind this problem. I’m coming along behind the financial troubles of Ford Motor Company and praying for relief and rescue. I should have prayed it forward. It’s not some big spiritual secret that I was supposed to do this. It didn’t require the words of a prophet, a message in tongues and the confirmation of three others. It is right there, in black and white. But I’m lazy or spoiled or in denial or short-sighted or something. Pray for leaders. That’s what I’m supposed to have been doing. But when Bill Ford stepped into the podium I noticed he had on a gray suit with a purple tie and wondered if that was specifically chosen to inspire trust or calm or something. I noticed he was a little pasty and a little sweaty and that he had this thing of turning side to side as he spoke that for some reason was increasing my headache. I listened and read the crawl on the bottom of the screen. Then I realized; I have never prayed for this man. I want him to make good decisions with great wisdom. I want him to run a corporation that will guarantee my children and my husband and I are financially sound. I want him to be smart and good and honest. And I have never prayed for him. So I prayed for him just now. But I wished I had prayed it forward. I wish I had been praying for the CEO of Ford Motor Company since 1988, when the Mr. was hired. I’m sorry Mr. Ford.
Then I thought some more and prayed for my pastor, Pastor J. I do pray for Pastor J. OK, I do pray for Pastor J. sometimes. Regularly. Semi-regularly. Not enough. Not every single day. Once again, I often pray behind him, and not in front. When it’s time that I know he’s making a big decision, going through a struggle, dealing with a problem; I pray really hard then. But to my shame I confess, not every single day. Not the way the Bible tells me to. And while I’m at it; Adam is the youth pastor guiding my children and Mike is the Life Development Pastor carrying their own share of the shepherding of Metro. I don’t pray for them daily either. I’m sorry Adam and Mike. I’m sorry Pastor J.
Oh, and by the way; we’re at war. Yup. People dying. Boys, only a few hundred days older than mine are dodging land mines and enemy fire. My country is divided from within. I do pray for my president, when it occurs to me. It occurs to me a few times a week. Soldiers die every day. The math doesn’t add up. That one really makes me hang my head. I pray often that God protects my kids from entering the war, but I’m praying behind the problem. I need to pray it forward, God guide my president and the leaders of every nation. Grant wisdom and peace. I’m sorry President Bush. I’m sorry, soldiers who have lost their lives and soldiers who will lose today’s battle. I’m sorry mothers and fathers who outlived their military children. I’m sorry husbands, wives and babies whose loved ones never came back. I’m sorry, Jay and Mac.
There is only one leader I pray for daily, my husband a.k.a. the Mr.; Dean. But while I’m praying it forward, God please grant him your anointing, your joy and wisdom. When I’m less than I should be, spare him from paying for my shortcomings. Teach me to pray better for him. And in those areas that I do not cover in prayer, grant mercy. And for those times you’ve needed the prayer of your wife and I failed you; I’m sorry Dean.
Maybe you have failed to pray it forward too. I have a lot of “I’m sorries” in my heart; but they don’t count for much without a change of direction. I’m changing. I’m going to pray it forward.

1 Timothy 2:1,2
1. I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone—
2. for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.

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