By Synthia Esther
Dana, a domestic violence survivor asked me..."How do you pray for unsaved loved ones?" As born again believers God instructs us to impress His commandments on our children, talk about them when you sit at home, when you walk along the road. When you lie down, or get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your forehead. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates (Deuteronomy 6:5-9).
Being obedient to God and His word lays a solid foundation on which we build our spiritual growth, wisdom, and prayer life. My parents were always involved within God's ministry. We were in church twice on Sunday, once on Friday night for youth service, and Wednesday night for "prayer meeting". As a child I disliked going to Wednesday night prayer meeting services, it all seemed such a bore. Not many people usually showed up, and those that did were mostly the elderly. Little old ladies with white hair, usually wearing a floral printed dress.
They often carried delicate laced trimmed hankerchefs that they would occasionally wave in the air if the preacher said something that touched their heart, or raised a cord within their fervent spirit. There were a few older men that attended Wednesday night services as well, but they were far out numbered by their female counter parts. Women often live longer than men.
Wednesday night prayer meeting consisted of a song service, followed by personal testimony, praise reports, and prayer requests. The preacher would then give a short sermon, followed by prayer at the alter. What I remember most about those Wednesday night prayer services were the amount of hands that would go up in the air when the preacher asked for a show of hands signifing an unspoken prayer request.
What were these unspoken requests I wondered? I thought they were the type of things usually not discussed out in the open. What would be termed "dirty laundry" by some. Like the little girl in the third grade who was mentally challanged, being raped by three boys who were fifth grade classmates. My mother was a school teacher, and one of the three boys was her student. I knew of this unspoken request.
Many times the unspoken requests had to do with unsaved loved ones. People requesting pray for those who were lost, and in need of God's saving grace, mercy, and love. I knew this to be the case because I was there listening to the many praise reports of answered prayer in bringing a prodigal child or friend home.
Praying for lost and wounded souls has become a deeply ingrained burden within my heart. Having met so many people who come to me with their problems, I am always reminded about the need behind a smiling, angry, or frowning face. Their experiences, as well as my own, have shaped my hearts cry.
Now I too often pray in silent whispers, unspoken prayers, for those I meet along the way. I pray they embark on their sacred journey towards God's salvation plan. I pray they find peace within their spirit, heart, mind and soul. I pray for their children, their children's children, and even their pets.
I pray for their eyes to be open, and their ears to listen to the Holy Spirit's still small voice within their spirits core. I pray for a pair of new shoes for a child's bare feet. I pray for the decayed teeth within a stranger's smile that need immediate care. I pray for those who are hurt, and the ones who are doing the hurting. My whispered prayers are held within the secrets of my heart.
My prayers are said on behalf of people God places within my path. The man who sits beside me at the Doctor's office, who is in obvious pain. The woman walking to the store by foot, with five children in tow. The brunette female bank teller, that cashes my check. The man I see pushing a red lawnmower, cutting my neighbors grass. The mailman, or the post office worker, who weighs my package and gives me my stamps. The four year old little girl playing in the dirt, with no one there to care for her.
The lady in the green shirt who stood by the side of the road with a hand made card broad sign done in red marker print that read, "JESUS LOVES YOU." I pray for the preacher on T.V. in the grey and white pinstriped custom made suit, with gold cuff links that match his sparkling gold and diamond ring. Whom my eyes see, and my spirit calls to, I whisper my unspoken prayer requests to God. All because I saw the spiritual fruit as a child, sitting on wooden pews during Wednesday night prayer meeting services.
Founder of Every Home for Christ, Jack McAlister, once told the story on a radio broadcast in 1961, of an instructor at Canada's Prairie Bible Institute who stated in one of his classes, "I don't believe a person is ever saved unless first someone has prayed for him or her." A student replied, "I'm not sure that's true. No one I know of ever prayed for me. My unbelieving parents hadn't, nor relatives or friends ever had." The student felt his conversion was a simple matter of choice, while attending a small hometown church one night after hearing the gospel preached for the first time.
Four years later, two classmates of this young man were visiting in the town where he had been converted, at which time they visited an elderly Christian woman who was a praying saint of God. When she discovered the two were from the Prairie Bible Institute she asked an inquisitive question, "Do you know a young man named Clifford Potter?" They confirmed that they did, and he went on to become a missionary in Africa. She responded with a thankful smile, "A missionary...in Africa."
She continued to tell the two men her simple act of faith in praying for Clifford Potter, as the Lord had placed him upon her heart. She confided, "Years ago, I was working as a cashier in a local restaurant when a tall young man came in for lunch. I heard a whisper in my heart, I sensed was the voice of God. It was clear I was to pray for this person. I told the Lord I knew nothing about this young man. But I bowed my head and prayed for his salvation anyway. I had this same prompting the following day when the young man came into the restaurant. So I prayed again for his salvation. Not long afterward, I attended a gospel service at a small local church. That night, the young man I had prayed for responded to the preacher's invitation and gave his life to Christ."
She went onto explain that she had lingered after the service to learn the identity of the new convert and was told his name was Clifford Potter. Being of shy personality, she decided not to tell him about her prayers. Upon hearing the elderly ladies testimony, the two young men shared what Clifford had said in the classroom years before. Without a doubt she knew her prayers had been answered.
SIMPLE FAITH IN GOD -
The quiet whispers of your spirit, the unspoken prayer requests by Dear Saints of God that I witnesssed as a child, contained a simple but strong power. Belief in God's mighty hand of providence to take care of each situation. Prayers that contained faith in God alone. They had no visualized formula, focused intention, or hypnotic trance in meditation or repetition. These were Christian Saints who believed when they prayed that God's will would be done. That His ways are not our ways. And He as our heavenly Father knows what is best according to each situation, person, problem, or thing. Their foundation of faith was based on God's power, not their own. In God's word, not "their" word.
GOD DESIRES A RELATIONSHIP WITH US -
In my own personal life, I can attest that God patiently wooed me by the power of the Holy Spirit, into His glorious Kingdom (2nd Peter 3:9, John 6:44). Our prayers cannot change a person's heart, mind, soul, or provide inner healing. Only God can do that.
But because God desires a relationship with His children, our prayers do play a part in God's Holy plan, for it is our personal and intimate communication with God. Just talk to God like you would a friend, because that is what He is, a friend on whom we can depend. What is the secret to answered prayer? Obedience to God, Faith in His word, and Holy ordinances. For the prayer of a rightous person availth much - James 5:16.
God commands us to pray - 1st Thessalonians 5:17, Ephesians 6:18
Prayer glorifies God - John 14:13
God answers our prayers - Acts 4:23 - 33, Matthew 9:38
Persistent Widows prayer - Luke 18:1-6
How to pray - Matthew 6:5-15
JESUS PRAYED -
HINDRANCES TO PRAYER -
1st Peter 3:7
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