June 7, 2022
“With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people” (Ephesians 6:18b, NIV).
I’m not sure how God places people on my prayer list. Often, I pray for those whom I have not seen or heard speak in a very long time and come near to dropping them from my list; then, God shows them up again. Last week one such Christian doctor called me after five years of absence to ask advice about a medical case. Another, whom I had not seen in 12 years, responded to a devotion I had written for CMDA—and then a third. I don’t believe these three reconnections, crossing to me on a bridge of prayer, were a coincidence.
What am I to learn from three prayed-for servants of Christ contacting me out of the blue? I’m certainly not impressed with myself for having been remembered. God was doing a different thing. He was blessing me by the reunions, letting me learn from people I love in new and fresh ways, reminding me of God’s work in the past, updating my knowledge of His present work in lives that were pointed toward His kingdom, giving me increased energy and encouragement to do likewise.
God gives me those for whom I pray. I don’t personally try to add names to my list. If so, I would just end up with a long list, leading to prayers of shallowness and habit.
As Shakespeare put it in Hamlet: “My words fly up; my thoughts remain below: Words without thoughts never to heaven go.” Or, like those teachers of the law, whom Jesus described in Mark 12:40a, “…for a show make lengthy prayers” (NIV).
A long list of names without prayers of sincerity are probably more harmful than helpful to both me and the prayed-for.
So, why do I pray for others when many are so far removed?
- I need to remember the Godly lessons I learned when I was with them—and I know;
- God uses my prayer, just like He uses the sincere prayers of all Christians, to work in other lives for His glory—and often;
- God uses my prayers to inform me that I should be part of His answer to the prayers of those for whom I pray.
So, as I grow older, my list grows, and my prayer time grows longer. Thank God for long runs and 30-minute commutes to work each day.
Who needs to be on your prayer list? Who do you need to remember? Who needs God’s power unleashed by your prayer? Who needs you to be part of God’s answer to their prayers?
Give to me the names of those for whom I should pray and let me listen to you as you listen to me.
Thank you for the post card I received this afternoon indicating that a staff member at the CMDA headquarters was lifting me up in prayer this week. I am definitely encouraged as well as blessed to know that my brothers and sisters in Bristol are serious about the ministry of prayer, especially for those on the “front lines” of healthcare. Knowing that the battle is the Lord’s and that He has already won gives me strength to press on to continue running the race. I currently practice at Lewis-Gale Medical Center in Salem, Virginia and have recently become more aware of the spiritual battle we are fighting. Our hospital administration elected to eliminate the position of our one paid full time chaplain back in June but I just became aware of this in August. Please pray that I will have wisdom to take the proper steps in the most effective sequence and will have favor with those that made this decision. My patients and those of other physicians at this facility need to know that the spiritual side of their healthcare is being addressed appropriately. Our certified chaplain was doing everything in his power to provide for the spiritual needs of our patients and he had been doing so since 1995 but his position “was eliminated”. I can see God at work in this situation and trust His will to accomplish what will bring glory to His name. Thank you for your prayers.