Poured Out in Prayer
Yes, and if I [Paul] am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. Philippians 2:17 NKJV
I have been reading some of the surviving personal letters of Oswald Chambers, the great devotional writer, holiness of advocate, and man of prayer. One of his letters written from America in 1907 challenged me to re-think my understanding of what it means to devote oneself to a life of prayer. Here is a key passage: “I want to tell you a growing conviction with me, and that is that as we obey the leadings of the Spirit of God, we enable the Lord to answer the prayers of other people. I mean that our lives, my life, is the answer to someone’s prayer, prayed perhaps centuries ago.”
This private letter, which Chambers probably assumed would be read once and thrown away, drove home to me that it is not enough to ask earnestly and to expect faithfully when I pray. I must go beyond expectant asking in order to complete the full cycle of prayer. I must make myself available to be part of the answer to my prayers—or to the prayers offered up by others. I must be willing to allow the Holy Spirit to pour petitions and solutions out of my life. I must join Paul in rejoicing that God has seen fit to pour me out as a drink offering.
Here is my new prayer: “Use me Lord to offer up prayers that line up with your Word, to energize those prayers with faith that pleases you, and to be available to be lead of your Spirit as part of the answer to my prayers or the godly prayers of others.”