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A WORD FOR TODAY, June 18, 2021
“In the same way, the Spirit also helps our weaknesses, for we don’t know how to pray as we ought. But the Spirit himself makes intercession for us with groanings which can’t be uttered. He who searches the hearts knows what is on the Spirit’s mind, because he makes intercession for the saints according to God.” Romans 8:26-27,WEB
You have probably seen a photo of a pastor sitting in a booth that looks like Lucy’s psychiatric booth in the cartoon “Peanuts.” Lucy is willing to give psychiatric help for a nickel, but the pastor has changed the sign to say “Spiritual Help 5 cents.” Others have taken the idea and opened similar booths offering prayer or theology debate.
When the pandemic started over a year ago, I thought about that booth and considered putting one in my yard. I live on the corner of two streets where many people were walking regularly. I thought it would be fun to offer prayer for my neighbors, but it didn’t come to be because it would not have been practical. While we have a lot of people pass by, they don’t come at regular intervals. I would have to sit out there all day to even have one or two people visit my booth.
I wanted to do something for the neighborhood, so I began putting out little trinkets for the children and for anyone who wanted one. Over the past year I’ve given away coloring books and crayons, silk flowers, jingle bells, and many other things. In the beginning I put out some pens and cards and invited those visiting my corner to leave their prayer requests. This was easy enough in the Texas summer because it never rains, but as fall rolled around and the chances of rain went up, I had to find a different way.
I eventually purchased a clear plexiglas box which I have hanging on the railing by my sidewalk. There is a pen and paper inside, and the neighbors are invited to leave their requests. A few have come back to leave thanks and reports of answers. One woman early in the pandemic had lost her job and asked me to pray. A few days later she left another note to tell me with joy that she got a great job. Several mothers have asked me to pray for their adult children who have wandered off the path of faith. Many have asked for prayer for health. One little girl asked me to pray that they would get to go back to school. It has been a privilege to pray for each one.
I received a note yesterday that said, “Thank you for praying for my family. Please continue. Thank you!” I was keeping all the prayer requests and returning to them, but the amount of paper hanging on my storage unit became overwhelming, so I got rid of them. So, I don’t recall the original prayers for that family, but I realized that it doesn’t matter. God knows. What is truly remarkable about this whole thing is that strangers are willing to share their deepest worries with me, trusting that I will take their requests to God. I have met and talked to a few of them; they appreciate what we do to lift the spirits of the neighborhood.
We don’t have to do anything big to make a difference. Oh, big organizations might impact more people than I will ever reach, but we can change the world one person at a time. It might not be practical for everyone to put a prayer request box outside their house, but there are a million other little things we can do to impact one person’s life. The best thing we can do is to pray. We don’t even need to know the needs of those for whom we are praying because God knows. Stand in front of your house and pray for the people in the houses you see. Sit in your car for a few minutes outside the grocery store and pray for the people who are rushing by. Pray for the people whose posts appear on your facebook feed. Give them and their worries, whatever they are, to God and ask Him to touch them with whatever grace they might need. You’ll never know the impact your prayers may have, but that’s ok. Pray anyway and trust that God hears and is making a difference in their lives.
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