By Joan Clayton: PNT Columnist
I believe one of the most important things we can do in life is to pray for others. … “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (James 5:16 NIV). I learned this in many years of working with children. The results were astounding. Before I closed my eyes each night I prayed for the children and each day I noticed improvement in many areas.
Praying for others changes things. The New Century Version states in James 5:16: … ”When a believing person prays, great things happen.”
I read somewhere this statement: “Be nice to everyone you meet because you do not know the battle that they are waging.” I wonder how I would be coping if I were in their shoes?
Many times in life I could not pray for myself, making me totally dependent on the prayers of others. I had a friend in the same situation. I received a call about this dear friend who had just been wheeled into the operating room for lifesaving surgery. My friend’s vital signs were not good and the emergency surgery was called “high risk.”
Of course, others had been contacted to pray too. I immediately began to pray and intercede. An hour later I received a call that my friend had somehow miraculously stabilized just before the surgery had begun. I believe the combined prayers of family and friends had saved her life.
Many medical doctors agree, when patients are prayed for recovery happens more quickly.
According to 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing,” we are to make our lives a life of prayer. I did not understand that verse until I discovered what I call “sending prayers at people.” I found in my thought life I could pray prayers in the doctor’s office, at a football game, on a city sidewalk or even from my porch swing as cars drive by.
Whenever you see an ambulance, hear a fire truck or policeman’s siren or see a helicopter going toward the hospital you can send prayers to people whether you know them or not.
In another way it can be called,”pre-prayered.” I have many church bulletins in my files that I have collected over the years. One is yellow with age but the statements are crucial, “Life is too complicated, too many ups and downs to be prepared for it unless we are pre-prayered. Many of the ancient greats met their problems head-on, because they were pre-prayered.”
You and I can handle life’s difficulties if we are “prayed up”… “ For God “is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.” (Ephesians 3:20).
It has been said, “Everybody has a problem, lives with a problem, or is a problem.” This statement makes prayer vital in all of our lives. I love the prayer of St. Francis and I share it with you:
“Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light, and where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; for it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.”
Begin sending prayers to people today. You will be surprised by joy. They may never know the prayers you prayed for them yet sometimes they will suddenly look at you and smile. I have yet to find the person who did not smile back if I smiled first.
Lose yourself in it … be a prayer sender. Those prayers will come back to you when you need them the most!
Praying for others is a privilege.
Joan Clayton is a retired teacher and religion writer living in Portales