I shifted my weight in my chair during lunch as the speaker encouraged us to consider our roles and write down our circles of influence on a sheet of paper. Well this won’t take long, I thought to myself.
My paper ended up with wife, family member, friend, and employee scribbled shyly and slowly so those around me wouldn’t be able to tell how short it was.
As a young professional, I consider my roles and my routine pretty simple. I go to work, get home around dinnertime, and spend time with my husband. On the weekends, we go to church and sometimes hang out with family or friends.
My circle of influence seemed pretty small.
Surely there was more going on outside my comfortable bubble.
Around that same time, the Holy Spirit began to convict me about my “boring” routine and how I use my time. It came in the form of Philippians 2:3–4.
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”
As believers, that conviction often leaves us on our knees in repentance and praying for guidance. I’ll change! can often be my first reaction, but then it quickly becomes Help me! I can’t do it on my own! I need You!
I should know by now that true change comes from the hand of my heavenly Father.
So I began praying for Him to help me in the following ways:
1.) Identify and appreciate the roles He’s calling me to do.
2.) Pay more attention to people around me.
And God has been answering that prayer ever since.
He’s brought people to our door (literally) to share the gospel with, reminded me to get in touch with people I haven’t seen in a while (and get serious about investing in those I see all the time), and provided numerous opportunities to branch out of my comfort zone to meet new people.
But most of all, He has reminded me to pray—often and deeply—for the people around me.
I thought my list of people to pray for would be small—after all, I’m a simple girl with a boring routine—but as God brought names to mind my list grew. 30 names. Then 60. Then 100.
Suddenly, my roles seemed to have expanded too. Wife, friend, sister, daughter, co-worker, neighbor, listener, hostess, greeter, walking buddy, grocery store shopper, restaurant frequenter, book club member, volunteer, co-laborer, pray-er.
God is showing me He’s at work all around me. He’s giving me (though I’m a work in progress) opportunities to be a part of what He’s doing by allowing me to influence others for His kingdom and for His glory.
Our Part, His Plan
Maybe your story is different from mine. Maybe you’re a busy mom who is always looking out for others. Or maybe you’re a social college student intentionally aware of all the relationships you’re forming. Still, God is using all our stories as we live, work, and play in this stage of life He has given us.
So why be a part of His big plan? What does your influence have to do with it?
In short, because we serve a big God Who cares so deeply about people that He gave His Son to die for our sins and be raised again so we can spend eternity with Him.
He is inviting you and me to show that life-changing love every day and allows us to be a part of other people’s stories as we travel through life together.
It’s a huge assignment but one He has equipped us for. He’s bringing us new faces to encounter, and we have the joy of praying those names back to Him.
Join the Journey
Won’t you join me in this journey of stopping for a minute and praying for those He is putting in our paths, as well as the ones He is calling us to step off our comfortable paths to go meet?
If you’re up to the challenge, then let the free prayer prompts in 21 Days of Prayer for the People You Influence spur you on to lift up those God has placed around you.
May He remind you each day how much He loves you, the beauty of the opportunity to live life with others, and the privilege we have to talk with and listen to Him as He guides our every step.
--Cara Brown, content manager of young women’s resources.