One of the most rewarding parts of my current role is meeting monthly through Zoom, FaceTime, or Skype with mission workers. It is always a joy to spend time with people who are dedicating their lives to making disciples of Jesus who will in turn make new disciples. These monthly calls span a wide variety of topics: missiology, soccer, family celebrations and concerns, personal health, financial concerns, the progress of seekers on their discipleship path, mission opportunities and challenges, and anything else that the mission worker wants to discuss.
When we near the end of the conversation, I ask these two questions:
What can I pray for you about?
Would it be okay if I prayed for you right now?
In the past six years I have never had any of these people say, “I don’t have prayer needs. And no, I don’t need your prayer.”
People living on the leading edge of faith, know the power of prayer of praying together, and they welcome it.
I’ve come to see that for much of my life I’ve been stingy with prayer. There could be several reasons for this. Here are three:
When it comes to expressing my faith, I default to doing rather than praying.
In my church growing up, prayer-meetings were long ago replaced with planning meetings. Most meetings started and ended with the leader saying, “Who wants to get us going with a brief prayer?” Prayer was a box to be checked to get us started or to shut us down.
Like David putting on Saul’s armor to fight Goliath, prayer can seem awkward. I have a friend who asks restaurant servers if there is anything he can pray for them about. When he does this, I stare at the table. It feels awkward. I’m ill at ease to know when it is the proper time to pray. And, interestingly, I don’t feel awkward asking certain people “What can I pray for you about?” But, I then struggle later to actually pray for them.
Being completely transparent, I think I viewed prayer as a last resort. I was never taught this, but somehow, I absorbed this concept. Maybe it was the Christian culture around me. I came to think that faith means doing everything I can possibly do on my own first. Then if I found myself facing insurmountable “faith odds” I’d offer up my version of a non-denominational “Hail Mary.” I’d throw up a “down-the-field-prayer” hoping God would catch it and give me a win.
Spending time with these mission folks has taught me that praying together is powerful, and it is an incredible gift to give someone. Prayer shows its power by both talking to God and at the same time encourages people.
Praying together is a gift to be given and experienced.
Dedicated Christians, who live life on God’s mission, never turn down the offer to be prayed for. They always welcome it. Their attitude has given me a new mindset. I want to see prayer as a gift to be shared.
Moving forward, when it feels natural (I’m still working on the awkward part!) I will ask the people in my life (not just mission workers), “Is there anything you would like me to pray about for you? Then, I will immediately follow up with, “Would it be okay if I prayed with you right now?” If they say, “Yes,” I’m going to give them the gift of prayer then and there. No waiting. Just praying.
As I work to make my AOTYGS (All-of-the-Year-Giving -Spirit) take over of my life, it makes sense to me to include giving away the gift of prayer.
What do you think about adding the gift of praying together to your AOTYGS?