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Last time I talked about one of my all-time favorite verses, Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.” When things are going wrong in our lives, our first instinct is to be anxious, or worry about it, and then to strive for a way to fix it. But scripture says we are to act in a way contrary to nature and logic. We are to seek His will, not ours, and He will take care of our needs. We are to dwell on His kingdom, not our self-dom. We must shift our focus off of ourselves and onto God.
I have struggled with this idea from time to time. There was a time where I took a lesson from the parable of the persistent widow in Luke 18:1-8 and therefore was praying unceasingly for my problem. I beseeched God to grant me deliverance. I felt like I was doing the right thing; after all, didn’t Jesus tell us we were supposed to pray like this? But all it did was make me moody and discontent. Why?
My perspective was askew, I was praying and dwelling so much for myself and not for anyone else. My problems had become the center of my world. In reality, we need to have balance. We need to be persistent in prayer, i.e. not giving up, but we also need to be lifting up the needs of the saints. When we become others-focused then it shifts our point-of-view away from ourselves. Here are some ways we can do that.
1. Pray for Others
When we are in the midst of a trial we tend to get pretty selfish in our prayers, asking the Lord to help us through our present situation. As a matter of fact, we tend to become pretty self-centered all around as our primary focus is on our problems and our worries. As far as we are concerned we have it worse than anyone else and no one else has problems like us.
However, when we take a step back and look at the world as a whole and not just our tiny part we see that this is entirely untrue. When we focus our prayer time on other people and their needs then we are able to be more realistic about how our problems relate to the bigger picture. We get pulled out of our self-centered focus and remember the rest of God’s children.
Once a month I go a women’s prayer meeting and bible study, and I always leave with a fresh perspective of the issues I am dealing with. Not because we prayed for them as a group (which we did) but because of everyone else we prayed for! I’m reminded that I’m not the only person who is dealing with hard things; just because another person’s trial looks different than mine doesn’t mean it’s not just as hard!
In the past year I have sought to be more intentional about praying for others needs before I pray for my own. Through that, God has burdened my heart for a couple of women whom I lift up often. I feel as deeply for their needs as I do my own. The word of God tells us to pray for others, don’t rob yourself of the blessings of obedience.
2. Seek to Minister to the Needs of
We have been reminded that we are not the only ones with problems and needs, and while praying for them is a great start, we should not stop there. God intends for the Church to help one another. We are to: bear one anothers burdens (Galatians 6:2), regard one another as more important than ourselves (Philippians 2:3), encourage and build up one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11), and fervently love one another from the heart (1 Peter 1:22) among other things.
While I was living in very tight quarters waiting for God to work, I continued to work with my youth group and serve the people of the church. I made meals for new moms and those in need. I listened to the needs of others and encouraged them with scripture that I had been reading.
Matthew 6:33 says to “seek first the kingdom of God and all these things (food, clothing, basic needs) will be added to you.” That has been a life-verse for me. When I focus on those things God has called me to do and the people He has asked me to help then I can trust He is going to take care of me.