Christians pray. Alot. Prayer is part of the daily routine in a healthy relationship with Jesus Christ, like talking to any friend or your spouse or, even, one’s boss at work. Frankly, I don’t know how one lives as a Christian without daily prayer. The more I consider my relationship with Christ in its proper interpersonal context, the more I see the need for constant communication–as I would with any good companion. Furthermore, I find that I need prayer in order to simply recalibrate my focus from simply the horizontal to both the horizontal and the vertical, ensuring that while I am looking at the world around me, I am also considering if not focusing on heaven and eternity. In doing this, I look at this world through the filter of Christ, trying to see this life and those I encounter in it as he would. Truthfully, this can be heartbreaking, as this world is a wounded place, desperate in its need for redemption. Christ was a man of sorrows, and our joining him in lamentation over not only the world’s depravity but our own sin can be spiritually healthy.
And it is in that brokenness that we see an element of prayer that we often overlook. The need to share with others when it happens–when we pray for them in their brokenness. Frankly, this is a new revelation for me–one that came, not surprisingly, during prayer itself. I was driving and praying in regard to a college buddy and his ministry. I asked for the Lord to encourage him through the Holy Spirit, to exhort him to stay his course and continue his work. The Spirit, of course, had its own plan and, though inaudibly, spoke to me to do the same–that is, encourage this man in his work.
Such an idea is not foreign to me. As one who has struggled with a great many sins, one of which required direct accountability to Christian brothers, I know the importance of being told, specifically while in distress, that I am being lifted in prayer, that I am being loved through prayer, that I am being remembered in prayer. While these concepts may sound foolish to the unbeliever, they bring to the Christian a great deal of comfort. It is not unlike having a brother or sister saying, “I went to dad to talk to him about what you’re going through. He’s looking out for you.” or even a co-worker saying “I went to the boss; he knows you’re struggling. I asked him to help you out as he saw fit.” These are wonderful sentiments, and what’s more, we hold them to be true, and we hold to their truth with great hope, for prayer has repercussions far greater than we can even see. Countless stories from countless Christians attest to this fact, and I look forward to, hopefully, seeing this tapestry more clearly once in God’s direct presence (how fascinating would it be to sit in an arena, while Christ tells his followers how the prayers of one in South America affected the lives of those in Africa, who in turn prayed for others in Asia who later lifted up those Americans).
That being said, I am going to try a new experiment and just see how it goes. For the next two weeks, as I remember folk in prayer, I will try to let at least one person per day know that they are being prayed for and loved, not only by me but by a Holy God. I am guessing that for nine out of ten people, this will be a small, if negligible boost in their day, but for that last person, it may just be the one thing they needed to hear. Who knows. The Lord works in mysterious ways.