James 5:16b – The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. (NLT)
I don't drive. So, when my husband died, I had to walk or take the bus wherever I went. As I live in the centre of a busy university town, this meant that, suddenly, I was spending time every day surrounded by the people I had ignored when riding past in an SUV. I began to realize that God was bringing me to specific individuals throughout my day. Beyond my simple, daily devotions, I started to pray that God would help me to recognize the needs of those I encountered: the mother with the crying baby, the man drunk at midmorning, the couple bickering, the lonely senior. Finally, I realized that everyone we see is an opportunity for prayer.
Now, I say good morning and smile at whomever crosses my path. It goes even deeper than that. I held a beggar's hand and prayed with him when I saw the battered New Testament he had been reading. I sat with a young woman on Valentine's Day to listen and discuss why going to a bar to find herself a man was a bad idea. I prayed with a discouraged young man at a bus stop, distributing Bible literature.
"Though He giveth or He taketh," a hymn says, "God His children ne'er forsaketh." He had taken my husband peacefully, and in exchange, given me the opportunity to be a channel of His grace, a life overflowing with meaning, peopled with those on the street whom He loves as much as He loves me.
Someone advised, Pray for others. They need the prayers and we need the practice. This added time for prayer becomes a habit as we practice it wherever we are: street, supermarket, waiting room, lineups … even pictures of people in the papers. Our prayers for others draw us closer to Him who walked these same streets, listened to those in trouble and pain, and brought them the love of His heavenly Father.
Prayer: Dear Lord, thank You for giving all believers the opportunity to increase our ability to access Your throne of grace on behalf of strangers in need. Thank You for the joy of being a channel of Your peace, for bringing those to us whom You know can use our prayers on our daily journeys through the mundane circumstances of our days. Thank You for prayer itself: that it is Your Spirit communing with our spirits, that it works, that it keeps the door open for Your blessing and inspiration, that it gives us assurance that Your loving purpose can be brought into the lives of those we meet and by so doing, to our own lives also in a new and living way. Thank You for the admonition of Paul to pray without ceasing. Amen.
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Listen while you read: "Breathe On Me Breath Of God" (Lyrics)