Jonathan Martindale punctuated an unforgettable worship service yesterday morning with one of the most thoughtful prayers I have ever been privileged to be a part of. What made it so effective was the people and issues he prayed about. This is not exhaustive, but here are some of the specific people he prayed for among his beautiful words.
- Individuals in nursing homes that are facing the end of life (they believe they are prepared for eternity, but are not)
- Individuals who are in college who are not being adequately equipped for the challenges and skepticism being thrown at them (both those who are fighting for their faith and those who have started to drift)
- Individuals who are have been rocked by broken families
- High Schoolers who are dealing with temptation
- Junior high youth (trying to figure out who they are in life and those dealing with depression)
- Elementary kids that have not made the decision to follow Christ yet but still need prayers to learn Christ correctly and led to that decision.
- Those who are in the world who are perfectly content with where they are but still do not have Christ
- Those who are good moral people but don’t have Christ
- Those who are in the world and caught up with various vices (drinking, drug use, pornography)
- Those who have fallen away (and our being visionary and courageous to help them)
That prayer reflected true thoughtfulness, contemplating those who are lost or drifting. While I’ve heard other prayers devoted to groups of people, I cannot remember one exactly like Jonathan’s.
It reminded me of Samuel’s words to Israel after the coronation of Saul. They had sinned against God by rejecting Him as their king. He assured them of God’s care, adding, “Far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord by ceasing to pray for you” (1 Sam. 12:23). It seems that, in principle, we can be guilty of sinning against God and our spiritual family by not praying for them. James encourages praying for one another when sin infiltrates our lives (Jas. 5:16). The church prayed for Peter (Acts 12:5). Paul wanted Thessalonica to pray for him (1 Th. 5:25; 2 Th. 3:1). So did the writer of Hebrews (13:18). So often, Jesus and His inspired spokesmen urged His followers to carefully, considerately pray for each other.
Let’s take every opportunity to do that today. Sit down and make a list of people—especially those who may get overlooked. Then, pray for them. Be as specific as you can about them. Talk with them and find out what they need from us in prayer. What a hedge of protection we may be giving one another by taking the time to pray for each other. What a huge blessing we can be for one another through prayer!