It was just after four in the morning. I had gone to bed late. Yet, I had awakened moments before with a sudden urgency to pray for my daughter. I pulled back the covers and went to obey the call. After the burden lifted, I crept back to bed, careful not to wake my husband. Less than a minute later, a chirp from my cell phone on the nightstand informed me of an incoming text. It was from my daughter.
“Mom, can you pray for me right now?”
God had known the need. I told her that I had already prayed. I reminded her of how much God loves her—that he had put her name on someone’s heart to pray.
So many times, I have interceded for a friend’s prodigal child, fasted and prayed for a sister with cancer, sought God on behalf of a brother desperate for a job, and so many other urgencies that sent me to my knees. I have rejoiced to hear the testimonies of answered prayers and glorious victories that stirred my faith to boundless levels.
On my prayer room wall hangs a small bulletin board. Photographs and cards with names written on them fill every empty space. They are reminders of those I want to pray for. I delight in the moments that a prayer request becomes a praise report. I truly have no doubt that:
The eyes of the Lord are upon the righteous, and his ears are open unto their cry.
(Psalm 34:15, KJV)
If I didn’t believe it, that bulletin board would be empty.
So, why do I lack that same confidence when it comes to praying for my own needs?
If I believe that God hears and answers prayer, why do I stutter and stumble over my words when I try to pray about my own heart’s desires and needs—those dark places of anguish that I am desperate for God to relieve? Why is it that I can hold up the hands of my brother or sister with confidence while the battle rages around them, but cower and panic the moment I see the army of my own enemies approaching?
But now thus saith the Lord that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.
(Isaiah 43:1, KJV)
The Bible affirms that I have been redeemed and that the very God of Heaven has called me by my name. Not just daughter. Not just faithful servant. It is in those last three words—thou art mine—that I feel a gentle assurance and profound sense of love wash over me.
Thou art mine…
Regina... thou art mine.
Just like that prodigal child. Just as much as that sister battling cancer and that brother struggling to find employment. And those petitions on my prayer board that I intercede for every day? God acknowledges every single one.
Even mine. Before I even ask.
After praying for others, I feel the fingers of doubt creep in. Because this is the time when I prepare to draw attention to my own needs. I sense God waiting patiently for my faith to stir, for my courage to rise, for me to open that door.
Because the prayers for my own needs are just as valuable to him as all the others were—my very name being in his mind as I step boldly to his throne and claim my right as his child.
And Jesus stood still, and commanded him (Bartimaeus) to be called … And he, casting away his garment, rose, and came to Jesus. And Jesus answered and said unto him, What wilt thou that I should do unto thee? The blind man said unto him, Lord, that I might receive my sight.
(Mark 10:49-51, KJV)
It didn’t matter that the crowd had tried to silence him, discourage him, hinder Bartimaeus from even daring to ask. That blind man was not a scholar, a rich benefactor, an up-and-coming religious leader with a list of pedigrees to impress Jesus. But Bartimaeus believed that Jesus could heal him. Even to the point that he cast his garment away, knowing that the one who had beckoned him had everything he needed.
If Bartimaeus had that kind of faith, where had my faith failed me?
Jesus already knew what the blind man needed.
So, why did Jesus ask Bartimaeus what he wanted him to do? Wasn’t it obvious that what Bartimaeus longed for most was his sight? But Jesus wanted him to believe it. Voice it. Ask for it.
God knows what we need, what our heart aches for, and he yearns to sweep in and rescue us. But God is a gentleman, never intruding without being invited. Bartimaeus was desperate. He didn’t present a scroll to Jesus with a list of names and an index of what others needed.
He had one chance to say it and he wasn’t going to miss his shot. He simply answered, “...that I might receive my sight.”
I want to live and voice that kind of faith in my own prayer life. Faith for myself and not just for others. I never want to miss my opportunity to receive an answer to prayer because I couldn’t have faith for myself. I refuse to believe that God will respond to others but deny me my petitions.
And that’s exactly what God has been waiting for me to see when I pray—my value in his eyes!
I may even put a little card on my prayer board with my name on it just to remind me.