I’m pretty sure there are some people out there praying for my soul. Concerned I’m on a slippery slope. Worried that I’m in dangerous territory with all my questions and some rather un-traditional conclusions. Praying I’ll see the error of my ways. Hoping I’ll see the light.
But wait, it gets better. I’ve done the same thing with other believers myself. I’ve hoped people would open their eyes. I’ve been worried about their spiritual walks. I’ve prayed they would change their minds and see the light.
I really can’t find fault with this. Most times our concern for each other is intensely genuine and good-hearted. We believe that we are right and they are wrong, and we want them to join us on the side of the right… right? Sometimes our differences aren’t about beliefs, but about relational difficulty or behavior. Whatever our differences, it’s always our natural inclination to see ourselves on the right side, and them, not so much.
May I suggest a slightly alternative way to pray? Instead of us envisioning ourselves standing on the side of truth, and ‘them’ on the side of error, let us all envision ourselves and others at the foot of the cross. Let us pray something like this for each other:
‘Lord, I’m really concerned about ‘so-and-so’. I’m worried they are in bad space and believing some wacky things or doing some dangerous things. Lord, I just pray that you would be opening both our eyes to You. I know you see this whole thing with perfect perspective, and neither ‘so-and-so’ or I have such clarity or pure hearts as you do. So could you just be showing both of us how to approach this? Show us where we each need to change. Help us keep open hearts to each other.’
Hopefully this is a prayer all believers could agree on- Liberal or Conservative, Calvinist or Arminian, Charismatic or not, Rob Bell fans or John Piper fans… we can all pray for more understanding, more humility, more love. For ourselves and each other. We can always recognize that there is just the slightest possibility we are wrong about something, right?
So please, lets keep praying for each other’s souls… but lets pray for our own as well.