I hear this a lot. Pray For Me, I am having surgery tomorrow. Pray For Me, I have an appointment with the cancer doctor. Pray For Me, I don’t know how to deal with my drug-addicted son. Pray For Me, my grandmother died. Pray For Me, I can’t get pregnant. Pray For Me, I lost my job.
When people say Pray For Me, I do it. It may be silent, and it may be short, but I pray. If someone asks me to lift them up in prayer, I imagine the request coming from God himself; the prayer will be heard. Plus, my conscience won’t let me get away with saying that I’ll pray and then not do it. Only God and I know if I am lying if I don’t pray, and that’s good enough for me.
It helps when we know that others pray for us. Everyone likes to know that others are thinking of them. Whether or not prayers are answered, praying for another person is an act of love that rarely goes unappreciated. When people hear that you’ve been praying for them, their faces light up; their smiles show that they have received a gift, and the gift is welcomed. It is, after all, the gift of appealing to God on their behalf.
And because I am who I am, I would be lying if I didn’t also include that the appeal of praying is that prayer is free, flexible and always fits. I don’t have to weigh pros and cons about helping another person by praying. There are few repercussions from praying. I don’t have to really put myself out there if I am uncomfortable with acting. I trust that God will take my prayers and use them to his will.
I know – I am soft, a huge wimp. No Crusades are starting with this gal. I am no Joan of Arc.
Despite the belief that God hears our prayers, and the overwhelming evidence that he responds to them through miraculous means, and despite the ease of praying, I rarely ask others to pray for me. I am a reserved person who has a history of difficulty opening up to people, but I believe With God, All Things Are Possible, and I have left my pride at the door in so many other areas of my life. I feel utterly transparent sometimes. So why is it so hard for me to ask others to Pray For Me?
In my closest circle of prayer warriors, we have shared some life-altering stories. We have shown love to each other in many ways, but mostly through prayer. We pray each other through difficulties and share how the knowledge of those prayers has helped.
But I hold back. I make excuses. My problems are not really problems; they are just complaints. My life is pitiably sheltered and free from trauma. I compare the relative ease of my life against my sister’s difficult one. And yes, I judge others who say Pray For Me for every hangnail and bad haircut. I don’t want to be that person.
And yet there is a bigger reason why I don’t ask others for prayer.
Sometimes I don’t want to share. I don’t want to be that open. I carefully select what I want the world, even my innermost circle, to know about me. I hold it in; I swallow it down again and again. I can appeal to God myself; that way, no one else can judge me the way I have judged so many others.
I am not utterly transparent.
It is humbling to realize that you lie to yourself. It is confusing to figure out how to unravel the knots you have tied yourself up in, even unwittingly. It is hard to find the path that you have blindly strayed from.
And when those are the issues you see in the mirror, it is almost impossible to admit out loud that you need prayer, that you need others to appeal to God on your behalf. You might even feel as if you don’t deserve it.
So, please. Pray For Me. I will do the same for you.
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. James 5:16 (NIV)