This morning I began my prayer time and I had so many deep, personal, prayer requests of people and friends, those which with whom I have formed relationships.
· A young 24 year old waitress who last Saturday tried to commit suicide.
· A friend battling cancer.
· A young lady who is struggling over her father’s Alzheimer illness.
· A young couple going through a divorce.
· Financial fears and looming possible bankruptcy of another couple.
· Addictions of a father that is tearing a family apart.
And the list went on…
As I was praying I was saddened by all of the prayer requests I had. But then I realized there was something sadder, not knowing anyone personally enough to deeply pray for. Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn…” (Matthew 5:4), because in order to mourn in prayer for someone, you first have to seek a relationship with them and be vulnerable enough to not only love them, but to allow them to love you.
You have to go beyond the shallow level of engaging a person in church or other places and exchanging the auto-pilot responses to each other of ”I’m doing fine” and embrace the risk, compassion, and time required to create a safe environment that allows the “Not so fine” responses to be heard.
Yesterday we celebrated God’s ultimate example of “going” and embracing the risk, compassion and time required to enter into a world of“not so fine” and through becoming vulnerable he intimately bore our burdens and brought light and life into our darkness and pain. We are called to imitate Christ and follow his example. “Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)
Take a moment and reflect on your prayer time. Are there those you are praying for you encountered through going out and embraced the risk, compassion and time required to hear their “Not so fine” prayer requests? General prayers for things like world peace and our government are good, however, who are those you mourn for in prayer because of an intimacy you sought and formed? Pray today for a boldness to take the risk and go, and that God will give you the unmistakable opportunity to push past exchanges of “Doing fine” into the “Not so fine.”
“Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” (James 5:13-16)
Please share any reflections below in the comments block.