Monday, February 2, 2004
It's no fun to be sick on Thanksgiving Day, and my honey was. Much of the family was together for Thanksgiving, but she was the one person who just felt too sick to join the festivities. She had more than a 101-degree fever, swollen glands, a burning sore throat, and a full nose and ears. Nothing fatal, just real "feeling crummy" stuff. And she didn't want to give any of us a Thanksgiving gift that we would not be very thankful for. Now, our daughter and son-in-law and two grandsons weren't able to be with the rest of the family, so we connected by phone that day, and each of them passed the phone around so we could talk to them all. And I, of course, asked each one if they would pray for their grandma. And each person said they would. Except for our little two-year-old treasure. When I asked him if he would pray for Grandma that day, I suddenly heard something like this on his end of the line: "Jesus, pray Grandma, sick, better, Amen." He just jumped right in and started doing it!
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Straight to the Throne."
Remember that Jesus didn't say little children need to become like us adults to belong to Him - He said we need to become like little children. That day when my grandson just started in praying is a good example of why. Everyone said they would pray for Grandma, and I'm sure they did. Later. Not the little guy! He started right in praying as soon as he heard the need.
Not a bad idea. How many times have we sincerely promised we'd pray for someone and forgotten? And while someone's promise to pray for us may be an encouragement, it's nothing like actually hearing them pray for you, right then and there. Don't you think it's time we got over this feeling of awkwardness and timidity about praying with each other? That day when Grandma was sick, I appreciated everyone's promise to pray for her, but I was really touched when our grandson just went ahead and did it. We all need to be doing more of that. It will exponentially increase your personal ministry, the impact of your life, and even the open doors that you'll have to talk about Jesus with folks who don't know Him.
This kind of ongoing, immediate, spontaneous prayer must be part of what Paul had in mind in our word for today from the Word of God in Ephesians 6:18. After his classic passage on spiritual warfare, he says, "And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints."
This is prayer that is triggered by the occasion. And no prayer ministers like immediate prayer. Going right into God's presence - in the presence of the one you're praying for - and bringing together their need with God's great love and power. And that's what prayer is really about - not some religious exercise you force on a person, but a real-life acknowledgement of God's "always there" presence and power and love.
So, as God provides appropriate opportunities, make it an instinct to respond to people's needs and struggles by asking them if you can start praying for them right then and there. I've asked that even of many people who didn't know Christ, and I've never had one person turn me down. In fact, many times when I open my eyes, there are tears in their eyes. Sometimes, by my having my relationship with God right in front of them like that, I'll have the opportunity to explain how I didn't always have that kind of personal relationship with Him and how that relationship got started.
If you're going to go to God on someone's behalf anyway, why not go there with them? It's one simple, meaningful way you that can make a powerful difference.