In my late 20s, I prayed a dangerous prayer.
As a young mom, I desperately wanted everything to be right. I desired to be the perfect parent, the perfect wife, the perfect daughter-in-law, the perfect neighbor—you get the picture!
Yet, the words of those around me often revealed just how far I fell short.
Many of those words came from my mother-in-law. Ours was a relationship where, no matter what I did or didn’t do, it was never enough. Ignoring her didn’t work. Bowing to her wishes didn’t work. I was exhausted and certainly didn’t feel generous towards her. I wanted her to change. Sound familiar?
A Prayer that Allowed Me to See
During an episode of handwringing before God, I sensed Him speaking into my heart, “Change your approach. Instead of praying that I will change her, pray that I will change you. Ask me to know my heart for her.” In very simple terms, God invited me to see my mother-in-law as He sees her.
So I changed my prayer. Each day, I asked God to show me His heart for her.
Like the transformation of Cinderella from rags to a sparkling gown, my metamorphosis was head-spinning fast.
A Prayer that Revealed God’s Heart
God opened my eyes to an entirely new perspective. Compassion emerged. My heart softened. My attitude changed. My words changed. I began to interpret her actions in a new light. I heard her words with fresh ears and, most of all, my heart changed to the point that it was genuinely for her. Generosity of thought and action flowed.
I found a new level of sensitivity that was, at times, almost painful. There were moments I wept at the poverty of spirit, the hurt, and the pain of her life that led to her harshness. There were other moments of intense anger, not toward her, but at the evil that had stolen tenderness and gentleness from her. Sometimes the drumbeat of my heart was pounding so deep and loud I wondered if others could hear it. God was for her and living it out in my heart.
A Prayer that Transformed
My mother-in-law didn’t change; I did. The breakthrough prayer—a dangerous prayer, a life-giving prayer—transformed our relationship. Twenty years later, I love her with a depth I can’t explain.
If there is a person in your life you have difficultly living generously towards, I challenge you to this dangerous prayer. But be warned: This prayer takes you to the mat. It alters your perspective to a larger Kingdom perspective. It expands your heart to match God’s heart for people, all of them, even the unloved or unlovely.
It’s bold. It’s dangerous. It’s generous.
Lord, show me your heart for ______________________.