Pray for me…

So, the question is, “Do I share a concern that I have with others so that they can pray for me and with me?” What if I am wired as a pretty private person and prefer not to “air out” my concerns? What if I have a theological understanding that God already knows my needs and I have prayed personally and specifically about them to Him? Perhaps… “What is the value of getting as many people as possible to pray about something? Does God give in and answer a prayer if you get enough uprising of prayer voices?”

A theology of prayer is not one that many people can articulate, and I don’t expect this short article to suddenly change the world on that matter; however, I do want to offer a perspective that I hope will be helpful.

Recently I came to a milestone in my education. After four doctoral seminars and two advanced doctoral seminars, after reading tens of thousands of pages of texts and hundreds of hours of lecture and conversation about numerous subjects…I had to sit for my comprehensive exams (aka Comps). All of the information I was exposed to and thought about for (in my case) nearly two years was on the table and I had to synthesize it and respond to questions about it. One question was an essay response to a prompt and two questions were “oral board” style with faculty members and a subject matter “practitioner” expert.

So, how do you prepare for that? One thing is pray. While I have a generally good grasp of tests…this one seemed to have so much riding on it, that I was genuinely nervous. So, I prayed and I shared the burden of my anxiousness with those close to me (family, close friends, my LIFE Group, etc.). Here are some of the reasons why I shared with others…reasons I will refer to as benefits:

  • Vulnerability. When you ask others to pray for you, you remind everyone, including yourself, that you are not invincible. This promotes humility. It also facilitates trust.
  • People want to help you. Others recognize when you are genuinely burdened about something and they want to help.
  • Community. Christians live in close-quarters with one another. We are on mission together. It would be derelict to withhold the fact that you are distracted by a concern.
  • Encouragement. Knowing others were praying and then receiving encouraging notes and texts mattered. It lifted me.
  • Shared Victory. When I passed my comps, a HUGE weight was lifted. I still have a ton of work to do, but this was really a big hurdle. I felt like I achieved something. I told Jodi, “I can see the light at the other end now.” I also sensed that many other people felt that they shared in that victory. They did, by the way, because we are a community and we labored together in prayer…so the victory is shared! But…the point is…they FELT the victory when WE PASSED the tests. To not share would have denied others of that realized experience of victory.

So, I get “private” and all that…but with so many benefits of having others pray for you…wouldn’t it be wise to admit that maybe God has a better plan and permit the community to function as it is designed?

Who are you “denying” the opportunity to feel victory because you wanted to keep a real burden private.

Go ahead and Make Up the Guest Room

Bible, study (2)“The kids are coming!” These words were spoken recently in our home in anticipation of Dillon and Jenn’s arrival for Christmas. That meant getting rid of boxes hidden just out of sight in the guest room. The closet needed to be reorganized. Clean sheets? Check. Fluffed pillows? Check. Dust, sweep…you know the drill. They were not even on the road for two more days but the expectation was certain in our minds as Jodi prepared the guest room.

What if they did not come? What if something went wrong and the Army cancelled leave? What if their truck had mechanical problems? (I know that is far-fetched since it is a Ford and not a Chevy). Sure, any of these things could happen but we had a strong sense that the visit was as good as done even though it was days away on the calendar.

Were we confident? Absolutely. That’s why Jodi prepared the room.

Now hear this nugget I saw this morning in my quiet time.

“Prepare me a lodging, for I hope that through your prayers I will be given to you.” Philemon 22.

Paul is sitting in prison and tells Philemon, “I am certain that your prayers will be heard and I will be with you soon, since you are praying for me.

What confidence on display! Confidence in Philemon and confidence in God! He knew Philemon was praying and He knew God was able.

Here are the thoughts:

  • Do others have confidence in your prayer life? Do they know you are praying simply because they asked you to?
  • Do you believe (truly believe) that God is stronger than your circumstances? Strong enough to overwhelm reason and logic and cause you to make travel plans while you’re sitting in a jail cell?

Honestly, my prayers are sometimes too tame. They are respectable. I wonder, at times, what it would be like if I prayed boldly like this more consistently.

A pastor serving in a city with a drought called his church to gather and pray for rain. The time of the meeting arrived and the people gathered into the church. And there was one boy who straggled in and sat in the back. He was the only one who brought an umbrella.

Do you carry an umbrella when you pray for rain? May it always be said that we do. Go spread the fame of God today everywhere you go.


Pastor Chris

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