To the many of you who kindly subscribe to this blog, I do apologize up front for the somewhat spotty messaging over the past number of weeks. It’s not been because of a lack of desire, but honestly, an overwhelming number of personal and health related items that I’ve had to address rather directly.
One particular discovery over the past few weeks has brought to mind what I hope will be an encouragement to every one of you to always remember to be willing to pray for others. This posture of “standing in the gap” between a need and the ultimate fulfillment of it by the power of God is called intercession in scripture.
Ezekiel 22:30 in the NIV says, “I looked for someone among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found no one.” So you see, intercession can also mean that you come before the Lord on behalf of someone or something that is resistant to His love and His values and ask God to be merciful and withhold judgement.
At the close of the video announcement that I gave over two weeks ago about my health condition, I asked the people who viewed the video to please submit to me any prayer request that they may have so that I might pray for them in the same way that I would trust that they would pray for me. We established a simple email account at: email@example.com
Candidly, the response to this has been encouraging and deeply moving. We are now closing in on close to 200 people who have sent personal and in many cases very intimate prayer requests with the assurance that only I would see these and intercede for them.
One of the things that quickly presents itself are the realities of the battle to live daily life in a way that’s in accord with what we perceive to be “God’s good and perfect will.”
Quite a high percentage of these requests have a relational component to them and many ask for prayer for their marriages, for their children who may have once confessed the Lord as their Savior, but now want nothing to do with Him. (So many of these requests have to do with the cultural influence on the lives of our children and how confused and misguided they have become as a result.)
There are also many requests for personal renewal and a desire to have the Holy Spirit refresh their own hearts, minds and souls with His presence because they, too, have somewhat drifted away.
The requests for release from bad habits or addictions are also frequent and quite specific. It seems that once an individual gets caught into these cycles, it becomes very difficult to break out of them, especially in today’s world with the isolation of covid and the manifold societal restrictions it has brought with it.
Then, there is a broad range of requests for physical healing; some from chronic illness or disease; some from the weariness of caring for loved ones with such illnesses; or some who have simply given up on healing within their own prayers and strength.
Some need wisdom for career changes or new positions in their field; some are trying to discern if and when they should go to college; and various assortment of other important and personal needs.
For me, the blessing of engaging in the open-hearted sharing of these prayer requests has brought me to the place of recognizing that the best way that I can think less about my own situation is to put my mind and heart in the place of others who are every bit as much in need as I am. In some cases, as soon as I respond personally to an email, I get a thank you and an update within days. There’s an instant bond in those exchanges!
The other great benefit has been the number of people who have affirmed in kind and generous ways the impact of our lives and ministry in ways that I had no idea had taken place 10, 20 or more years ago. It has become a treasure trove of thanksgiving in my heart for God’s faithfulness even when I didn’t know that I was part of an answer to a prayer that someone was crying out to the Lord years ago and has now been fulfilled.
So I want to invite all of you who read this space to please feel free to send your request to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and even more than that, perhaps revisit and renew your commitment to personal prayer and intercession for the people that are in your world. Believe me when I say that they are far more numerous than you might imagine.
If you are on social media, you may have scores, hundreds or even many more “friends” or contacts that would appreciate knowing that you’re available to pray with them. It can be “organized” in some fashion or simply how you are most likely to embrace this part of what we are called to do in our love for each other and that is to “pray for one another.” (James 5:16) I believe you will find amazing confirmation that this is indeed the highest level of affective ministry.
Thank you all for your prayer support and encouragement.