Don’t Bite Off More than You Can Chew

Sometimes I feel pretty pathetic as an intercessor. There are just so many things to pray about that I can’t—or at least I don’t—keep up with them all. Often I’m overwhelmed by all the prayer requests that come to me via conversations, emails, phone calls, texts, prayer letters, prayer calendars, things I hear at church, even Facebook. The fact that I don’t pray about everything I’m aware of makes me feel inadequate. And guilty.

The other day I felt that way. I felt exceedingly guilty because I don’t pray “enough.” I told God that. I asked His forgiveness for being slack in my intercession, and I asked Him (again—it’s a frequent request of mine) to teach me to pray.

Almost immediately I heard Him speak to my heart.

“Daily bread, Child,” is what I think He said. “Jesus taught you to pray ‘Give us this day our daily bread.’ But you feel responsible to pray the entire globe and the entire future every day. That’s not a burden I have placed on you. My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

God reminded me, too, that Jesus, the consummate Man of Prayer, had the same human limitations I do. Even though He prayed early in the morning and late into the night, He was aware of far more needs than He could reasonably pray about every day. Jesus understands how overwhelming it can be to try to pray for everything that needs praying for. So maybe that’s why He taught us about daily bread. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Pray for what you need that day.

So I tried it. I asked the Holy Spirit to show me what I needed to pray about that day. I wrote down what came to mind. Grace for a challenging conversation. An open-door for ministry I hoped to be part of. Protection and empowering for friends on a short-term mission trip. Insight about a project I as working on. Provision for an unemployed friend. Spiritual connections for friends doing cross-cultural church planting. A leadership need in my church. Wisdom for a family member’s important decision. An aspect of my life in which I need His transforming power.

When I finished, instead of feeling apologetic for not “getting more done,” I felt satisfied and complete, kind of the way I feel after a good conversation with a close friend. I didn’t feel inadequate or guilty. I sensed that the intercession I’d done that morning was exactly what was needed. It was enough.

The next day I did the same thing. And the next. I prayed for different things each day, trusting that the Holy Spirit was leading me. He knows better than I, after all, just what I need for my “daily bread.” He doesn’t expect me to bite off more than I can chew.

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2 thoughts on “Don’t Bite Off More than You Can Chew

  1. Barb Stophel says:

    Cynthia, just where I have been also. I appreciate the guide to ask Holy Spirit to choose for me what to include in a days prayers. Thanks so much.

  2. Judy Niednagel says:

    Thanks, Cynthia! I certainly identify with feeling overwhelmed by all the situations that need prayer! So this is very timely and helpful!

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