Many of you may now that I was in a car accident two months ago, that left me clinging tightly to God, but also left me with severe muscle damage and living with constant pain I have to humbly admit that I have a very low tolerance for pain, and so I walk around panicky and starving for anybody, anywhere to pray for me. I thought, if I can ask enough people every day to pray for me, maybe I can heal faster. After all there are a myriad of verses in the bible that command us to pray for each other. 1 Thessalonians 5:11 says, “Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as you are doing it”.
So, at the risk of sounding excessive, whenever anyone asks me how I am doing, I ignore their most likely perfunctory question, and tell them how I really am: “Well, now that you ask, I have been rear ended, I have muscle damage, and would you please pray for me.” Some people appear startled by my honesty, but I press on none-the-less. I even relate my plight to grocery clerks, whom are dutifully extending their “How-are-yous”. They, too, look at me as if to say “Lady, I was just making chit-chat”, but I unpretentiously ignore that and hope that their human conscience or even guilt will lead them to pray for me anyway!
If this sounds like too much, it’s really not. 1Thessalonians 5:7 says to “pray without ceasing”, James 5:13 instructs, “If anyone among you is suffering, let him pray…”, and Luke 18:1 directs us to always pray and to never loose heart. How many times, in our lives do we implore each other, “Please pray for me”, but do we really follow up with arduous intent, or do we unintentionally forget at the end of an exhausting day to lift others’ needs to Christ…I can’t speak for everyone, but sometimes I am guilty of forgetting, so I decide to answer any prayer requests in the car, as soon as I depart that person’s company , or if possible I try to pray for them on the spot. Unfortunately, the latter is hard and uncomfortable for me to do, as I do not yet posses that unbridled ease…
This week, I was welcoming the heat on my acking body by the neighborhood pool, when a friend asked me how I was doing and, as you know by now, I laid it all out. Her eyes filled with concern, and she said “Let me pray for you”. She reached out to hold my hands. I thought, “Oh, she means right here, right now?” Indeed, under the glorious blue sky, amid a flurry of people she prayed for me earnestly, with compassion, honesty, and words filled with supplication. I was so grateful that she did that for me. My anxiety lifted, my pain eased away, and felt hope of restoration. “Wow God, she prayed for me on the spot! Thank you for this sweet lady!” I heard God say to my heart, “There is no better moment than the one you are in to pray for one another.” 1Timothy 2:8 instructs us, “I desire therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath or doubting.”
God must delight so much when we obey his command and sees us praying for one another. I know, I delight as a parent when I see my children pray spontaneously…It feels up my heart with gladness. As I confessed earlier, I have reservations about praying in public, so I asked God to endow me with that sweet surrender, and so literally, the very next day He gave me an opportunity at the local grocery store. A dear clerk, become friend, was visibly distressed. With a somewhat nervously beating heart, I pulled her into a hug and whispered a short prayer of peace, God’s will, and lots of strength. She earnestly thanked me, and assured me how my prayer has made all the difference in her day.
Can you imagine how our lives would look like if we ubiquitously pray for one another with unconstrained, inherent outreach? It will probably freak some non-believers, and even unease some believers at the sight of hands held together, closed eyes in reverence and loud prayers ascending to Heaven. God is extremely expectant of us to pray for each other: “Therefore, confess your sins to each other and pray for one another that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working” (James 5:16), “If one person falls, the other can reach out and helps” (Ecclesiastes 4:10), “For where two or three are gathered, I am there among them” (Matthew 18:20). Maybe if we decide to revolutionize these very specific directives form God, and pray for each other on the spot, maybe we would live our lives with more acceptance, peace, assurance, healing, hope, harmony and contentment. We would instantly become charged with God’s powerful words. I know I feel instant relief, tangibly loved, and looked after which can make all the difference amid trials and adversity.
So, why not live out our prayers as a inherent part of our daily lives…It breaks my heart to see ourselves walking around heavy hearted, carrying our burdens as we push shopping cards, standing in lines, or sitting alone in corners with obvious tears being held back…Yes, it takes courage to offer instant prayer, but even non-believers would welcome a kind and loving gesture. When we are in pain, all we want is for it to cease. The prayer doesn’t always have to be elaborate, but gentle and simple. This is what I usually say when I don’t have any details and there is a lack of time: “Dear Jesus, you already know what the hurt is, so I pray for peace, healing, comfort, love and restoration. Amen.”
God knew and knows that we need to support each other in all ways possible, and prayer may not take away the impasse, but it can salve it and give us strength and the hope that Jesus is in control of our lives. 1Timothy 2:1 declares, “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessors, and thanksgiving be made for all people.”
I know we live in a fast moving society, and it’s easy to become self-focused, but we must try to surrender all inhibitions that obstruct us from following God’s command of prayer. Let’s all make intentional efforts and stretch out of our comfort zone and pray on the spot for someone that needs it. We may alter their state from despair to hope.
I know God is watching and smiling with content, as He sees us taking care of each other and obeying him so well, and that fills my soul with joy.
By Roxana Phillip-Hackett
Roxana is a wife of one, mother of two, who loves to share her faith with sincerity and honesty from her home in Hendersonville Tennessee.