Over a decade ago, I remember driving through a small German village thinking, ‘I wonder what it is like to live here.’ Maybe it was the unique name, or the visual impression of the green grass and timbered houses, but somehow it stayed in my memory. I’m not sure how many people there were Christians or even what type of churches they had, but I’ve since prayed for the people there. Have you ever randomly prayed for someone you didn’t know? Maybe it was a chance encounter with someone who impressed you, or you just felt led to lift them up before God. I sometimes do this to vehicles that go by, or even for a plane up high in the sky. Does a prayer for strangers even work? God only knows.
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people. 1 Timothy 2:1
Is it better for someone to say they will pray for you, then they don’t (but you maybe feel better), or for them not to tell you anything then pray for you, or to say they will and then pray? Probably the latter two, because the first is just meant to make you look/sound better before men and not so before God. Or maybe the impression that someone is praying for you actually helps too? God only knows. I think the important thing is to act, either in prayer, or words, or actions, when God leads you to do so. The result may not be what you were hoping or expecting, but it is likely one of obedience. Maybe it is just a good policy to act in love toward others, whether or not you know if or why you are doing it.
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. John 13:35
This past Saturday, during a quiet/prayer time during a retreat, one thing I was led to do was to pray for a young couple, who are not practicing Christians, but who are trying to have a baby and have had difficulty in doing this. It was interesting when I got a message from them the next day asking to visit with me, when I had not talked to them directly for over a couple months. I’m not sure how you are supposed to tell someone you are praying for them, but I did share that, and tried to convey my love and care about them, as a starting point. I’m not sure if this will make a difference in their faith or their lives, but I just felt it was my responsibility to do what I felt what God was asking of me. Have you ever wondered what, if anything, resulted from you just trying to do ‘the right thing’ in any given situation? Maybe you will know some day.
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. Ephesians 4:32
In my experience, whenever you pray for someone, whether that is an immediate family member, a stranger, or even someone that you have no good feeling for, or have even hated, it brings about better things in you. You almost have to forgive others before you pray for their well-being. And often the result of praying for others not only brings about feelings of concern for them, but often causes you to act in love. Especially toward those in our immediate family, who often easily offend us, or who we can take for granted. It puts their concerns before God and before your concerns. Prayer isn’t really meant to change God’s mind about something we want, but to conform our hearts and minds toward what He wants. And more often than not, it is to act in love and forgiveness toward others. What are some ways you can do that today? I know I have a long way to go before I really get there.
Yours in Christ,