"Can I pray for you?"I have asked that question hundreds, if not thousands, of times. I have never been refused.
Yesterday, as I welcomed the family and guests of Spanish River Church, I asked the question again -- this time to the entire church. The response stopped me in my tracks and drove me to my knees.
We have a perforated "Connect Card" in our bulletin. Yesterday, I did what I normally don't do. I asked everyone to tear it off. All over our worship center you could hear the sound of paper being torn. To me it was symphonic. Then the music stopped and a few hundred people sat staring at me with little pieces of paper in their hands wondering what all this was about. At that point I shared something like this: "Spanish River Church is a praying church. We have a team of people who will lift your needs before God. So if we can pray for you, please write down your request and drop it in the offering basket when it is passed."
I wasn't prepared for the response. After the services, I went up to our office where these Connect Cards are placed. Normally, we get a few cards -- literally A FEW CARDS! This time we had three stacks. I read every one of those cards and prayed for every one of those people. I asked God's blessing on students returning to school. I asked for his intervention in marriages that are crumbling and for bodies that are faltering. I prayed with parents who long for their children to make godly choices, for people who are lonely, and for autistic children and the families that love them so dearly. I prayed for friends of friends, sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers. I prayed for the lost, the hurting, and the hopeful. I prayed and I prayed! And today, others at SRC will be praying for those needs.
When I open the pages of Scripture, I find these four words from the Apostle Paul:"Brothers, pray for us."(1 Thessalonians 5:25 ESV). Even the man who spent countless hours praying for his friends needed someone to pray for him. The same is true of people all around us.
So let me ask you to give someone a gift today. It won't cost you much, but it is priceless. It begins with a simple question: "Can I pray for you?" Ask the question! Ask it of co-workers . . . children . . . parents . . . roommates . . . old friends . . . and new acquaintances. Then stop right then, right there, and lift that need to our God who says:
"Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:7-11 ESV)
Can I pray for you? If you have a need, please send it my way. I will pray for you!