Most of us know the Greatest Commandment and if you don't, no worries. Here it is.
"Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength." Mark 12:30 NIV
In April 2009, I made a road-trip to Nashville where my daughter was a junior in college at Belmont University. The following day, I dropped her off at school as I had planned to head over to the Opry Mills Mall and shop for a couple of hours while she was in class. I told her that I would be back to get her. Only as I began to leave, I felt compelled to stay and pray on the campus. The only way I can explain it is that I had trouble walking away to my car because I didn't have peace about leaving. I wrestled it out for a moment as I really had my heart set on quality shopping time. But the LORD had a different agenda for me. He wanted me to stay on campus and pray and walk and pray some more. Lord knows the prayers that are needed on our college campuses today so I obeyed the Spirit and did just that. I basically began to pray whatever came to my mind in regards to possible things that the students could've been dealing with such as various strongholds, temptations, secular verses Christian worldview issues plus other various petitions. I kept waiting for the Spirit to release me to go to the outlet mall. After all, Pastor Ken spoke once in a sermon about the importance of having outlets!! Surely this is what he meant!! Haha. At least that's how I interpreted that particular sermon! But He did not release me. So I stayed and prayed what was on my heart for the students of that campus. After a little while, I walked to another section of the campus and began to ask God if there was "anything in particular He wanted me to pray?" He immediately spoke to me and said, "Love," to which I retorted, "Oh, pray that they would love each other." And He said, "No. Pray that they would love ME." I immediately had an "aha" moment because it became clear to me that if they loved HIM, they would love each other as well. Loving God would have a domino effect that would topple over to others. Our capacity to love others as well as ourselves would depend on our supernatural agape love for Him. So I quickly began to cry out, "Oh LORD, I pray for them to love YOU!" Over and over I prayed this. And it was so simple! God boiled it down for me when I asked Him. Imagine that! Ye have not because ye ask not! What if we asked God for His prayer requests? Maybe some of you do. But this was a new revelation to me. Up until this point, I assumed I knew what ought to be lifted up in prayer. Hmmm. God taught me something that day. And I realized that had I ignored His prompting to stay and pray and shopped instead, I may have come away with a cute dress or darling top but nothing of real eternal value. I believe by faith that the students and professors must have benefited from my obedience that day. Although we often don't know or have the ability to measure the outcome of our petitions and prayers, God does. And sometimes He does give us a glimpse of how HE IS answering. When I returned in the fall for another visit, two particular girls told me on two separate occasions how God was working in their life and how they had been growing in their faith. They knew nothing of my prayer time back in the spring. They went out of their way to enthusiastically share this with me. Both had been prodigals for quite some time before that. Later, after pondering what they had shared, it occurred to me that God was letting me in on something! He wanted me to know that my prayers had made a difference!!
Bottom line. There is a time for everything under the sun; a time to shop and a time to pray. Also, we would do well to ask Him on occasion if HE has any prayer requests and PRAY TO LOVE GOD over the next few weeks. Let's ask the Father of Love to give us what we lack and teach us how to honor His Greatest Commandment. This IS His Will.