Rick has been held up in his bed for some time battling a series of physical attacks on his body. Yet, in the midst of paralyzing pain, this prayer warrior continues to battle in the heavenly realm as he intercedes for many. Next to his bed is the church directory and as he pages through it he lifts up the body continually in prayer, even calling some and asking, “How can I pray for you?”
It was a holy moment a few weeks ago as I spent an hour next to his bed and we talked most about Rick’s favorite subject, prayer. He shared how he called up a few leaders at his church and gave a suggestion that during the “meet and greet” time on Sunday morning the challenge would go out to find some one around you and ask them “How can I pray for you?” He thought this could also be done at the conclusion of the service, “What a great way to end the service!” he added.
As I sat there listening to Rick’s heart I was convicted. I had pastored for many years and yet rarely given that challenge from the pulpit during the greeting time. After saying goodbye to my dear brother his words kept ruminating in my head. I pondered the thought of what may have happened in the churches I pastored if I would have challenged the congregation to do what Rick suggested. Yes, I’m sure it would have made some uncomfortable, but can you imagine the fruit of people praying for each other. The Kingdom of God breaking forth in miracles, discipleships fostered, and the powerful spiritual relationships formed. Yes, the service might have gotten disrupted a bit and maybe even went longer, but oh fruit that would have been birthed out of it.
God has been teaching me the power of those 6 words the last few years on East Colfax. The motel door opened last week as we offered some food to a young mom and her two kids. As they received the food with thankfulness, especially the chocolate chip cookies, we asked, “How can we pray for you?” This opened up the floodgates of emotions and led to a time of healing prayer and a spiritual bond with this family. We did “church” that night with cartoons on, toy trucks plowing over the bed, and the Holy Spirit showing up.
I wish I would have had the guts to do what Rick suggested as I pastored churches. Oh, the amazing works that God could have performed in our midst. But it’s not too late for me to challenge you with Rick’s suggestion. After all you and I are the church and we take the presence of God wherever we go. There is somebody today just waiting for you and I to ask the question – How can I pray for you?
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. (James 5:16)