I was praying recently about a man who has shown himself to be
untrustworthy and whose efforts to control the world around him have
caused a lot of harm to a lot of people. It could have been any of a
number of folks, I suppose.
“Father, stop him!” I prayed, and as soon as I said it, I knew I’d missed his heart.
Two things came quickly into my mind:
• The principle I’ve held for a few years that it’s easier to pray for the storm to change its path than to stop it altogether,
• The image of a man on his way to Damascus to persecute Christians getting knocked off his ass and turned from a persecutor into a preacher. “I didn’t stop him,” Father whispered.
And I realized that I need to change my prayer from “Stop him!” to “Change his path,” and even “Redeem him.”
As I considered this some more, it occurred to me that my Father is awfully good at redeeming irredeemable people, and bringing good through them who formerly brought evil.
I realized, not for the first time, that when I pray against people that Jesus died for, I’m doing it alone, not with my Father; that a much wiser path is to pray for the people and for their redemption.
I have permission to pray against their work if it’s hurting folks, but I have his presence and even his partnership as I pray for their redemption.