Sunday, November 14, 2010

I am praying for you

You know her: the woman in your congregation with a downcast spirit. Maybe she is a widow, suffers from health problems, has a special needs child, or is married to an addict. Financial difficulties may be stealing her joy, or maybe she has a prodigal child. Whatever the concern, she suffers greatly and her emotional load is heavy. While you may not always know what to say to her or how to help, you feel a need to pray for her. We often say, "Prayer is the least I can do," when, in fact, intercessory prayer is one of the greatest things we can offer to those who are hurting.

It took me a while in my early Christian walk to realize this. I remember people saying to me, "I'll pray for you," and thinking, "that's it? You're not going to help me?" It is amusing to consider how much I took for granted then, and how I now cherish the prayers of the saints!

During a recent family situation we were blessed with a victory through the power of prayer. The next morning, I felt crippled with anxiety. Since we'd just won a battle, I imagined that our prayer warriors were no longer on their knees. The heaviness was immense and I cried out to my Savior to help me walk through the day. Not 10 minutes later, I received a text message from a dear sister in Christ: "How are you today? We are praying for you." I cannot express the weight that was lifted from my heart in that moment!

Praying for others is a blessing, but telling them you're praying increases that blessing a hundredfold. A quick look through his epistles shows us that Paul reminded the churches often that he and his "ministry team" prayed without ceasing. Paul didn't stop with the words, "we're praying for you," rather, he listed the specific ways that he petitioned the Lord on their behalf (see Colossians 1:9-12, for example).

When you see the woman in your congregation with a downcast spirit, pray for her, yes, and then accept the challenge to let her know. How? It's easy. Tell her with a hug on Sunday morning and a quick whisper in her ear. Send her a card and let her know specifically how you've asked God to bless her. A flower bouquet or covered dish delivered to her home with a note would be warmly received. Post a message on her Facebook wall (that will spur others to do the same), or send a simple e-mail message.

She may be as I was in my early walk, wondering, "can't you do more than that?" But soon, she'll see the value and will come to appreciate that her burden is shared with others around her. In God's time she'll understand, and her heart will be encouraged.

No comments:

Post a Comment