The Canadian summer of 2021 was one of the smokiest in my memory. With the hundreds of wild fires burning out of control in British Columbia (BC), how would we ever be able to make our necessary road trip to California to bury my mom?
There were hundreds of deadly fires to the east of the Rocky Mountains as well; but as our intended path led through the heart of the worst of the BC interior fires, and even within a few kilometers of the deadly fire that completely wiped out the town of Lytton, BC, somehow the eastern fires didn’t impress themselves upon my mind…
And I’ll have to admit that had our road not required us to drive through the BC interior, I might not have given more than a half-hearted prayer for the people of Lytton either! But since our itinerary required that we drive right through the heart of BC’s fire woes, my eyes were constantly on the news and my prayers were full of requests for God to send rain to the BC interior…
Isn’t that so like humanity? We only worry about things when they touch us personally? There may be millions of people starving in the developing world, but we only become concerned about world hunger when we lose our jobs and are forced to begin visiting the local food pantries! Steeped in self-pity, we don’t even consider the fact that there aren’t even food pantries in the developing world! Or with millions in the world not only without running water but without even fresh water available to drink, we only get excited about the clean water issue when some kind of a contaminant works its way into our own water systems, rendering our tap water unsafe…
When I look at it like this, my own problems seem so undeserving of the degree of prayer I put into them! What if we were to turn our prayers to the people of the world without food or clean drinking water? What if we were to set aside even half the energy that we spend on our own needs to pray for others?
God is indeed gracious and good. Even when our prayers are selfish!
Because, “The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. He knows…Our days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, we bloom and die… But the love of the Lord remains forever with those who fear him. His salvation extends to the children’s children of those who are faithful to his covenant, of those who obey his commandments!” (Ps. 103:13:15,17-18 NLT)
While I thank God for a loving Father who understands that I am only dust, that my prayers are often going to be self-focused, here is an interesting thought: What might have happened if I had prayed just as fervently for those who had lost their homes? For the wild fires all across our country to be put out? For the rains to come? For the thousands of people who were evacuated from their homes because fire was near?
I don’t know for sure, but I suspect I know the answer: Those fires could have been completely out long before we needed to pass through the region!
How do I know this?
Because of all the times I’ve seen people pray unselfishly for others while their own needs were so great, only to see God supplying their needs as well!
Did I just make that up?
Not at all. It’s a Kingdom principle: “You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. ‘For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.’And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.” (2 Cor. 9:7-8 NLT)
Are your needs great? Why not consider shifting the topic of your prayers to the great needs in the world around you? You might be amazed at how God answers those prayers … and … provides for your needs as well!
In His love,
Lynona Gordon Chaffart
Author, Moderator, Acting Director, Answers2Prayer Ministries.