After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before. Job 42:10
I found this interesting little verse tucked away in the book of Job. I have to admit I don't often frequent this book - thinking I pretty much know what it contains. Stumbling across this one has caused me to ponder on what it says.
I often wonder why particular verses are included. What is there in this verse that makes it "special"? Is there something I might learn from it?
I think we all pretty much know that praying is important. Almost a given. I've wondered if what this means is that when Job took his eyes off of his own needs and onto those of the people around him, God knew he was ready for restoration.
I've been dealing with a lot of pain in regard to a root canal that doesn't seem to be healing correctly. There has been a lot of pain, particularly when I'm trying to get to sleep. No pun intended - but this kind of pain is so "in your face." I couldn't seem to get away from it.
I ended up sitting up in my recliner. This verse came to my mind. I have been so focused on my own problems that I've not been at all diligent with my prayer list. The pain was so intense that I could barely remember who was even on my list. One name came to me. I prayed for her. A ministry that is important to me came to mind. I prayed for them. It was a slow process and hard to focus on what I was doing. When I returned to looking at myself - the pain was as intense as ever. But while I prayed - there was relief.
In some ways that troubled me. Was I praying just to get away from pain? An honest answer would say "Yes" to some extent. But as I got into that mindset - it seemed easier and easier to pray. Each time a name came to mind. I prayed for that person. I would rest as quietly as I could until I felt another "nudge" of who to pray for. I became so absorbed in listening and praying that I was able to ignore the pain and eventually go to sleep.
Do I think I have found a simple anecdote cure-all for pain? No. I do believe I have learned another lesson though.
God honors the times I am able to look to the needs of others rather dwell on my own. (I am NOT saying I didn't pray for myself as well!) Finding the "prayer place" in my mind allowed me to focus on something other than myself.
I felt close to God and close to those I was praying for. It was as if I faded into the background. Everything else faded away except for the needs of those I was praying for. It was a new experience to be that immersed in prayer for others. Somehow, being in such pain helped me to identify with the pain of those I was praying for. God does use everything, including our pain - for good.
Father God, Thank you that you have given us the privilege of praying for others. How amazing it is to realize the multitude of ways you can bring good from anything - even our pain. Teach us to order our priorities so that our focus stays where it belongs - on You. Amen and amen.
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