“You know what we need to do, girls? We need to pray.”
I find myself saying that more and more to my kids. I never expected that the problems of a preschooler, a first grader and a second grader would be beyond my ability to fix so much of the time. I never imagined how much of motherhood is spent on your knees.
We’ve prayed for stolen glue sticks, mean girls, renegade classmates who won’t behave in art class, forgotten homework, lost lunch boxes, friends whose parents are divorcing and other friends being teased on the playground.
When you open the floor to prayer requests from kids, they’re willing to be downright honest, maybe even uncomfortably truthful at times.
If their parents fought, they’ll tell you. If their grades are bad, if their teacher is tough, if their friend is sad, if a bully is mean, you’ll hear about it. Children will spill it all out there.
We seem to learn privacy and shame over time, learning to keep things quiet, afraid to ask for prayer for our real problems because others might know the truth: We don’t have it all together. People might judge. The gossip chain will be initiated. It’s teenagers who start sharing “unspoken” prayer requests and adults that simply remain silent when the Bible study leader says, “How can we pray?”
Until maybe the crisis is undeniable and so great we finally confess that we need prayer, desperate intercession on our behalf because the truth is—we’re broken and there’s just no hiding it anymore.
I’m saying this now to you as you sit here reading this blog, maybe munching away at your lunch or settling down to read your email messages at the end of the day, or grabbing a few minutes in between phone calls or during your toddler’s nap time….
“You know what we need to do? We’ve got to pray.”
I left church yesterday overcome with sorrow at deep hurts that I can’t fix, far beyond the stolen glue sticks and renegade classmates of my children.
And me, all by my lonesome self, can sit here at my kitchen table with my Bible and prayer journal and pray for these friends.
And I will.
Scripture, however, reminds us of the power of praying together.
When Esther prepared to enter King Xerxes’s presence uninvited, placing her life in jeopardy in order to save her people from mass genocide, she didn’t just pray on her own.
She organized a nationwide prayer meeting, instructing all the Jews of Susa to “fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will do the same…” (Esther 4:16 NLT).
Jesus didn’t just fall to the ground in the Garden of Gethsemane alone as he waited for his betrayer to arrive with an army of soldiers and an unwelcome kiss. He took along “Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, James and John, and he became anguished and distressed. He told them, ‘My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me” (Matthew 26:37-38).
Paul, who seemed so confident and capable in ministry and who always seemed content and able to rejoice despite circumstances, wasn’t afraid to ask the church in Ephesus to “pray for me, too. Ask God to give me the right words so I can boldly explain God’s mysterious plan…” (Ephesians 6:19 NLT).
So rather than bowing my head alone, I’m asking for you to do something totally different with me.
Let’s pray together. Would you join with me in prayer today? I have some folks on my mind and heart. You probably do, too.
Just leave a comment on the blog or Facebook this week saying, “I’m praying, too” or something simple like that and then spend some time this week in focused prayer for others. It’ll take just a second of time to post that comment so we know you’re praying.
And if you have a prayer request, don’t be afraid or ashamed, please share that with us, too. You can leave a comment here on the blog—even anonymously if you wish—and you can keep it simple, “My marriage. My job. My kids.” We’ll join with you on our knees today and ask God for help.
Or, you can email a prayer request to me here: firstname.lastname@example.org
- For marriages: For husbands and wives to pursue marriages based on Ephesians 5:22-33. For faithfulness, love, affection, honor, making marriage a priority, friendship, spiritual unity, and for freedom from abuse.
- For depression and spiritual stagnation: For revival and a return of joy, for friendship and God’s Word to come alive for them again. For hope.
- For finances: For freedom from debt, steady work and well-rewarded labor. For wisdom and abundant blessing. For those looking for work.
- For children: For salvation, for the wayward child, for restoration of broken relationships, for wisdom to make wise choices for our kids, for help guiding them spiritually.
- For churches/ministries and pastors/ministry leaders: For God’s vision for 2013, for strength, energy, refreshing, wisdom, and clear direction from God—for their families and their finances and health. For God to fill them up as they pour themselves out.
- For caregivers: That God would bring peace and freedom from pain to their loved ones, for salvation for those suffering, for strength for each new day for the caregivers themselves.
Heather King is a wife, mom, Bible Study teacher, writer and worship leader. Most importantly, she is a Christ follower with a desire to help others apply the Bible to everyday life with all its mess, noise, and busyness. Her upcoming book, Ask Me Anything, Lord: Opening Our Hearts to God’s Questions, will be released in the Fall of 2013! To read more devotionals by Heather King, click here.
Copyright © 2012 Heather King