Are we intentional about praying for others? How often are we praying? What about praying for people that we do not know personally?
I was sitting at a bagel shop this past week, enjoying breakfast alone while working on my laptop. A therapy client had cancelled and I had an hour to burn. As I was sitting there, enjoying the slow start to my Friday morning, an older man approached me. He asked me if I was waiting for somebody. Assuming he wanted to borrow an extra chair, I told him I was not and smiled. He responded, “Oh okay, I am sorry to bother you. I am supposed to be meeting someone and I don’t know what she looks like.” He proceeded to walk away with a faint smile, and the conversation ended there.
For some reason as I finished my breakfast, I could not stop wondering about that man, who was still sitting nearby. Was he waiting for a date? Did he have a business related meeting arranged? Maybe he was seeing his daughter for the first time in 20 years? These thoughts were flooding my mind; I wanted to know more about this man. As I sat there for the next twenty minutes, still no one had arrived for him. I found myself compelled to quietly pray for him.
“Lord, whoever is supposed to meet this man here today, I pray that they show up. I pray that the conversation goes well. I pray that expectations are met. Amen.”
After I prayed for this man, God did not stop there. Later in the day I found myself praying for him again. I was thinking about what a sweet man he was, what courage it took to walk up and ask me if I was the one he was waiting for, and prayed for him to know the Lord and be blessed. I prayed for the wife and children he may have, his career, his health, and so on.
Pray without ceasing
The man in the bagel shop got me thinking a lot about how we incorporate prayer in our daily lives. In the Bible, Paul commands us in 1 Thessalonians 5:17 to “pray without ceasing.” If we are truly praying without ceasing, it should be a compelling, yet natural feeling to pray during numerous, unstructured times throughout the day. I vividly remember what area of the SDSU campus I was at, between classes for my undergrad, when I got my daily KLOVE encouraging word email. It was 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18. God has constantly nudged me to pray with more urgency and frequency ever since reading that verse.
Praying must be intentional
I’m trying so hard to make it a habit to pray intentionally. When I see someone wearing something funny while running to catch the bus on the side of Nellis Blvd., human nature says to laugh, but then I hear God reminding me to pray. Lord bless that man. Bless him for riding public transportation, probably to provide for his family because he can’t afford a car. Bless him for waking up today and living rather than giving up. This is my way of fulfilling what the Bible has called us to do when it says to pray without ceasing. With everything I do, I am beginning to see God’s people for who they truly are. I am beginning to see all the opportunities I have to pray for our broken world. It softens my heart. Am I doing it enough? Our lives should be a constant prayer of thanksgiving, worship, and asking Him for what we need. Every good thing comes from God (James 1:7) – we have so much to thank Him for.
The power of prayer
I challenge you all to see how often on a daily basis your mind is going to immediately praying for someone. What would happen if instead of complaining about politics, we prayed for our politicians that we do not know personally? What wouId happen if we prayed for the people in our workplace? Would our hearts be softened and would we be more approachable? I think about all the times people have been praying for me and I didn’t even know. I remember my in-laws and specifically my husband’s aunt saying that they have been praying for me, as my husband’s wife, since the day my husband was born. How many things in my life could have been so different if I didn’t have that group of people continuously praying for me, molding me and shaping me into who I am in Christ? Do not minimize the power of prayer.
How do I pray?
•Prayer does not have to be aloud. Though we should work towards being comfortable praying aloud with others, God hears our thoughts just fine.
•Prayer does not have to be long. This is not a 500 word minimum essay – He won’t dock your grade!
•If we do not bow our heads or close our eyes every time we pray, God will not be offended (though these acts are intended to be a sign of humility and a barrier for distraction).
Prayer is intended to be your conversation with God. The more and more you do it, the easier it’s going to be. Talk to Him as the nonjudgmental, loving, friend that He is. If you struggle in prayer, pray and ask him to help you through it!
This week I pray that each and every one of us can be more intentional and frequent in how we pray for one another.