For What Do We Pray?

Several years ago in the summertime I suffered a nasty, but brief reaction to a bee sting that had me hospitalized for an afternoon.  I received many calls, cards, and e-mail notes in the process, with reassuring thoughts and prayer support.

This past week, I let my friends, family, and church family know that I had suffered a tear to a tendon in my pinky finger that might require surgery.  Once again, I have received great support, encouragement, and many offers for prayer.

In reflecting upon the above noted situations, a thought came to me that I am hopeful will challenge those who read this:  In these two circumstances combined I had more people tell me they were praying for me than at any other time in my ministry.  This is a thought, not an accusation, so let me state clearly the following:

  • I am NOT saying that no one prays for me unless I’m injured.
  • I am NOT saying I don’t appreciate the support.
  • I AM saying that within Christianity in general it is uncommon to tell someone you’re praying for them unless there is a physical problem or a difficult situation.
  • I AM saying we should consider changing the way we encourage each other with prayer.

Would you consider it weird if someone walked up to you and said “I’m praying for you?”  You’d probably wonder what was wrong.  The point in praying for each other is that there doesn’t have to be anything wrong.  In fact, overwhelmingly the Bible encourages us to pray for spiritual growth and wisdom.  Here are two examples to consider:

“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name.  I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith.  And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and how high and how deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge–that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”  – Ephesians 3:14-19

“Now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of my father David.  But I am only a little child and do not know how to carry out my duties.  Your servant is here among the people you have chosen, a great people, too numerous to count or number.  So give your servant a discerning heart to govern your people and to distinguish between right and wrong . . .” – I Kings 3:7-9

So here is an action point to consider.  As you pray for someone, consider their spiritual needs as well as any physical needs they may have.  Also, will you let them know you are praying for them, even if there is nothing wrong?  The point of this is not for everyone to tell me that they’re praying for me.  The point is to get us to encourage one another daily with our prayers for both physical needs and spiritual growth.

I hope and pray for your growth as you process through this brief challenge.

In Christ,

Pastor Kevin

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