May 1st was our countries National Day of Prayer, although I never would have noticed if my friend hadn't said something to me at work. I didn't see any news stories but that's not really a fair criticism. I don't watch much TV. But it doesn't seem like our country gets into praying much.
So I decided to "take things into my own hands." I wrote a little note early Thursday morning and placed it on everyone's desk at work. This is what the note said:
"Today is the National Day of Prayer. We encourage you to take time today and pray. Prayer is the main way we communicate with God. We seek His forgiveness, ask for His healing or for His intercession in the lives of those we love. There will be a group of us praying today at lunch in the Team Room. Please come join us. If you cannot participate, please let any of us know your prayer requests and we will be happy to pray on your behalf. Thank you."
I handed out over 80 of those little notes. The response was, shall we say, underwhelming. I got one e-mail thanking us for praying but that was it. No prayer requests. None. That's okay I guess, but I was expecting at least one. Hopefully, people took the time to pray on their own. Maybe it's just the skeptic in me but . . . I don't think they did. At least not here at work.
To hedge my bets on the note option I also sent out a few text messages to some of my friends, most of them brothers and sisters in the faith, requesting things I could pray for in their lives. I received a 60% return on my investment!
However, I received more than just simple prayer requests. I received encouragement. I received validation. There WERE other people on the planet actually willing to be prayed for! I'm just kidding. But I did receive a lesson. A lesson in selflessness.
Almost all of those who responded requested prayer for someone else. A mother with cancer, a wife, a husband, parents. There were prayer requests for God to heal relationships, to allow for increased time for someone to pray and worship. Everyone was grateful to be lifted up in prayer. And everyone . . . EVERYONE, ended their message with, "How may I pray for you?"
Are you a part of a faith family? A church? A small group of some sort? Do you have a prayer partner or an accountability partner. Someone to keep you honest and to help you stay on track? Fellowship is SO important. We need to spend time with our brothers and sisters . . . with God.
My friend and I pray together every day at work. We keep each other accountable. I have several friends like that. The road to heaven is narrow. That's why we need our brothers and sisters to help keep us on it.
"9 Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! 11 Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? 12 And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken." - Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
Taking those we love to the Lord in prayer is an honor. We love them and we would love to help them in any way we can. Yet often we, by ourselves, cannot help our friends and loved ones in the ways that are needed. So we pray. We humble ourselves before the Lord, get down on our knees, and pray.
We Jesus was nearing the end of His ministry He humbled Himself. He got down on His knees and assumed the role of a servant.
"It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.
2 The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.
6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”
7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”
8 “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”
Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”
9 “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!” - John 13:1-9
Not everyone likes to be served. Not everyone likes to pray. Not everyone believes in God. Should we then not take them to the Lord in prayer? Should we not become selfless and serve those who cross our paths? How will you love your neighbor today?
What If His People Prayed - Casting Crowns