A humbling question!

4811 11jena

Greetings friends,


As I've mentioned before, I'm in an intensive class this week (it turned out to be a one week class instead of two) on church planting at the seminary. I think on Saturday you can look forward to a post about this class, as it has been one of the most unique and innovative classes I've ever been a part of. But more on that later.


Part of the class is that we are to pair up with someone as a prayer partner and spend some time each day praying for each other and for the class. My prayer partner Judy and I meet every morning before class, and start our day out with the exact same question:


"How can I pray for you today?"


On the surface, particularly to those of us who are in ministry, this can seem like such a meaningless statement. We might throw it out there the same way many people answer "Fine and you?" to the question "How are you?" without thinking. It's built into the job, it's part of the lexicon, it's an afterthought, it's not much to worry about or get excited over. But being on the receiving end of that question for the last few days, it's really been a humbling, inspiring, and encouraging experience for me. Perhaps it's the weight of the question itself, or perhaps it's even that the asker in this case isn't asking it in an afterthought kind of way. Judy is legitimately asking to step inside my world, and join me in praying to God. What an honor!


When a phrase is staring to lose its significance for me, one of the things I try to do is to move it to places you wouldn't usually expect it. We anticipate hearing the pastor ask "How can I pray for you?" in a church building, especially on Sunday. We expect it at certain points in a conversation. We expect it in all kinds of places. What if we started using it outside of where it was expected? What if we started asking people how we can pray for them at work? What if we started asking them out to lunch or coffee, just to see how best we could pray for them? Are you asking your students, whom we all spend a great deal of time entertaining and teaching, how you can best remember them in your prayers? Are you then remembering to pray for them? Weekly? Daily? 


Prayer is a powerful agent. Prayer is the connection point between God and us. To have someone offer to pray for you is humbling. It leaves me at time speechless, because it's one thing to think that God would have time for my needs and worries (a whole other discussion) and it's another thing to think that another person would have that kind of time. So take an opportunity today to step into someone's life, and offer up some prayers in their direction. You might just make their day!