There was a time, many years ago, when I thought I was praying in earnest for someone who had some real problems. Not only did she have problems, but she created problems for many in our congregation. I understood enough about prayer not to focus on the symptoms that were obvious to all. I wanted to know the root cause – why she acted like she did – knowing that the symptoms would leave when the root was removed. When I asked the Lord to show me the root, His answer surprised me.
God responded to my question with a question. “What will you do with that information?” With that simple question, He did show me a bad root – but it was in me. He knew I would misuse the information I asked of Him. Unbeknownst to me, I didn’t want to help this sister in her need, but to share the information with others as a prayer concern (aka gossip). Any prayer that would have taken place as a result of my sharing this insight would have been tainted because of my wrong motive.
Gossip wasn’t the only problem here. My motivation in praying for this woman wasn’t to help her at all. I just wanted her to stop being such a problem for me and others in my congregation. My motives were totally selfish and self-serving! I had looked at her actions and attitudes only through my eyes of flesh, not through God’s eyes of unconditional love and desire to heal and deliver her into His freedom through Christ.
John 8:32 AMP And you will know the Truth, and the Truth will set you free.
You know, the Lord never told me the root of that woman’s problem, for it wasn’t the truth I needed to know. Instead, He told me the Truth I needed to know, that which needed to be worked into my life at that moment, so that I could begin to walk in His greater freedom for me! Walking in the freedom of this Truth, I am now able to pray for others that the Truth might also set them free.