Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Praying for Strangers

"…praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,” Ephesians 6:18

I’ve found myself doing some strange things when it comes to prayer.  I may be out in the yard, look up at the sound of a passing jet, and speak a quick prayer on behalf of the pilots and passengers of that aircraft – zipping past me some thirty thousand feet or so above me.  I might pray for their safety, for the alertness of the crew, or for the hundreds of lives who have no idea that I am anything but an invisible speck below them.  What worries do they carry?  What troubles are they enduring?  What are their needs?  I have no idea.  But my Heavenly Father knows.  So, I’m praying for strangers.

I may do the same from time to time as I find myself stopped at an intersection red light.  In my rush to get where I am going, my main attention is usually fixed on the light in front of me.  But then I will consider that God may have me sitting right there, right then for his purposes.  He may want me to pray for the young man who is passing in front of my car.  His mussed hair and angry demeanor may be the marks of a life that I would never imagine, nor want for anyone.  Yet, there he goes.  I may never see him again.  But I see him right now.  So, I’m praying for a stranger.

Praying At All Times
In Ephesians 6:18 above, we find the Apostle Paul encouraging the people of Ephesus to pray at all times.  At face value, this seems a bit radical…perhaps even ridiculous.  How could anyone be praying at all times?  Right?  We have jobs, we have families, and we have real life distractions that require our full attention!  We have this mental picture of driving down the freeway, looking left into the next lane and seeing the driver of the next car with his or her head bowed and eyes closed.  Uh.  No thanks!  But that isn’t what he means is it.  Paul speaks of being in contact…being sensitive to the ministry of the Holy Spirit.  Keeping alert, with all perseverance, and praying on behalf of those around us. 

Last evening, my wife Laura entered the room where I was and said: “Okay.  We need to give our badges names.”  I didn’t understand.  So she clarified.  “We have these badge numbers (when we signed up for a badge number, we asked for three numbers, one from each – Fire, Police, and EMT/Paramedic) and we need a way to refer to them when we pray…so is it Fireman Bob, and Policewoman Debbie?  We need to give them names!” 

I now understood.  What she was saying is what we all sense…prayer is so personal!  As we pray for these persons, we want to pray for them like we pray for ourselves, for our families, for our friends.  We needed a point of mental connection.  Whatever imagined name we give to those officers, firemen, and EMT’s we pray for, we have this confidence that our Omniscient God knows every atom in their body, every hair on their head, and every circumstance they are enduring at any moment.  So we will pray…for these persons…without knowing anything but his or her occupation.  We will pray for their safety, for their peace of mind, for their family, for their finances, for wisdom, for discernment for them, and whatever else the Spirit brings to mind.  We will pray for strangers.  Who knows, they may need that prayer…at this…very…moment.

Pray for strangers.

Scripture to Claim:
“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” Mark 11:24

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