At the time this was written (2021, but perhaps even at the time this is actually published!), things in my home country of Canada were a bit rocky. What with the discovery of over a thousand bodies of native children in unmarked graves — around schools that were run by Christian churches, of all things! — And with the heat dome that scorched western Canada with temperatures of 50 C (120 F), followed by multiple lightning storms that had to date ignited over 200 wildfires, and the town of Lytton, B.C. that completely burned down, and the rise in hate crimes against minorities and indigenous peoples … to say nothing of COVID and resulting economic crises … Well the list could go on, but I’ll stop there. Needless to say, Canada was high on my prayer list!
Of course I know that bad things are happening elsewhere as well, and have been happening for quite some time; but isn’t it true that when it begins to hit “home”, suddenly we as humans start to care a whole lot more?
I will make a confession to you as well! This isn’t the first wildfire crisis of western Canada, but it is the first that has gotten this much attention in my prayers … Could it be because we were planning… a trip to bury my departed mom in northern California, and wildfire could close the roads we needed to cross?
And then there was the US/Canada land-border that remained closed at the time to non-essential traffic. Lots of people had lots of important reasons for that to open. I only started praying fervently about it a few weeks ago. Why? Because if it stayed closed, we couldn’t go down into California to bury my mom…
I could go on listing all the things that were high on my prayer list, and if I were to be perfectly honest, most of them were seen (by me!) as such high prayer concerns because they in some way impact … not just my country, but … Me!
I suppose this is a somewhat human way to look at things, and I’m pretty sure I’m not in this boat alone. Something happened, however, that really hit me. An e-friend in the Sacramento, CA area sent me an email asking for prayer about a wildfire that was burning 200 km from her home… My first thoughts? “I got bigger fires to worry about a lot closer to home!” I am happy to admit to you that this thought never fully materialized. It was not from me. It was from the devil, and as soon as it started making its ugly presence known, I renounced it. Of course I would pray against this fire! Any any other that might be threatening anyone! Why should my own personal concerns supersede those of another? Especially when my own concerns were primarily travel-related, and we were talking about people potentially losing their homes???
It reminds me of a Bible character. Samson was his name, and you can read his complete story in Judges 13-16 . I don’t know if any of you have ever noticed that though Samson is one of many judges in early Israel’s history, his reign is quite different from the others. Other judges led mighty armies into battle and defeated great enemies, winning back, often at their own expense (remember Jephthah and his daughter? See Judges 11), Israel’s God-given land. But Samson’s stories are different. Sure, he defeated thousands of Philistines; but if you read his story carefully, each victory was tied into some personal motivation. Even in his death!
I will admit that I’ve often been critical of Samson. Yet as I think back over my prayers of late, I wonder: Am I any better than Samson?
What if Samson hadn’t been so self-focused? He was so strong! He could have perhaps defeated all of the Philistines instead of just little pockets here and there! Perhaps he could have liberated Israel from the Philistines once and for all!
What if my prayers weren’t so self-focused? What if I prayed with as much intensity for other people’s needs as I do for my own? Would I also see a much wider breadth of victory?
In the future, I will try to follow Paul’s advice to the church of Philippi: “Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” (Philippians 2:3-4 NLT)
What are your biggest prayer concerns right now? Why not send in your prayer requests and let our prayer team pray with you.We are happy to pray for your needs. Send your prayer requests either by replying to this email, or directly by clicking here. Then you can focus your own prayers on the needs of others, and in so doing, perhaps you can “destroy the Philistines” rather than just clear the path for your own desires!
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart
Moderator, Associalte Director, Answers2Prayer Ministries.