It is no fun to be sick on Thanksgiving Day. 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. I mean after all, she had 101-plus degree fever, swollen glands, a burning sore throat, a full nose and ears. Nothing fatal, just really feeling crummy. And she didn’t want to give any of us a Thanksgiving gift that we would not be thankful for.
It also happened that our daughter and son-in-law and our 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. And, of course, I asked each one if they would pray for their grandma. And each person said they would. Well 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 the end of the line: “Jesus – pray – Grandma – sick – better – Amen.” No, he wasn’t going to pray for her, he just jumped right in and started doing it!
I’m Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about “Praying For Real.”
Remember that Jesus didn’t say little children need to become like us adults to belong to Him. No, He said we need to become like little children, and that day when my grandson just started praying – that’s a good example of why. Everyone said they would pray for Grandma, and I’m sure they did. But that would be later. Not the little guy. No, he started right in praying as soon as he heard the need. You know what, that’s not a bad idea.
How many times have we sincerely promised we’d pray for someone and we forgot? And while someone’s promised to pray for us might be an encouragement, I’ll tell you what, 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 that some of us have? It’s kind of a feeling of awkwardness and timidity about praying with each other, about bringing up that possibility? That day when Grandma was sick, I appreciated everyone’s promise to pray for her, but I was touched when our grandson just went ahead and did it. I think we all need to be doing more of that. It will exponentially increase your personal ministry, and the impact of your life, and even open doors 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.”
Now this prayer 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 really is all about. It’s not some religious exercise you force on a person, it’s a real-life acknowledgement of God’s “always there” presence and power and love.
So, as God provides appropriate opportunities, would you let it become 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 of many people who didn’t even know Christ, and I’ve never had anybody say no. In fact, many times when I open my eyes, there are tears in their eyes. It often happens that when they see me initiating a conversation with God, and they see with their own eyes that I have a personal relationship with Him, it gives me the opportunity to explain that I didn’t always have that kind of personal relationship with Him and how that relationship got started. Let them experience your relationship with God as you pray for them.
If you’re going to go to God on someone’s behalf anyway, why not go there with them? It’s one simple, but very meaningful way that you can make an unforgettable difference.