Hundreds of millions of people believe in prayer in one form or another. (I would offer some magical statistic that is easily found on the internet, but I do not have that figure available, so the estimate of hundreds of millions will have to do.) Generally speaking, we believe that through prayer God can heal the sick, comfort those who mourn, protect military personnel half a world away, guide our government officials. It seems in public times of prayer, such as during a time of prayer during a church service, these are the majority of requests. Especially pleas for God to heal the sick. Let me be clear – there is nothing wrong with lifting these requests to God for His will to be done. But for the longest time I tried to figure out why we are not bolder in our public prayer requests (and I very much include myself in this general pondering). Finally, it occurred to me …
These are prayers where there is little risk of others thinking our request is trivial or selfish. Or, there is little risk of others seeing that we have messed-up lives.
I know, I know … there are some things we pray for in our own lives that we do not want to share openly, or that we want to be selective, very selective, of whom we ask to intercede in bringing our requests before the Lord. It’s human nature – can I trust you with my darkest secrets, my deepest hurts?
Believe it or not, you can trust more people than you realize. Even though the specifics of our life experiences may be vastly different, there are enough similarities between us where we can trust one other at least a little bit. Enough common ground to ask each other to pray for more than Aunt Edna’s infected ingrown toenail.
In the book of James we are instructed to confess our sins to each other and pray for each other (James 5:16). Maybe we can trust each other enough to pray for something a little more personal. Something where the act of asking for prayer is confessing that we are not perfect, that we give in to sin, that we’ve messed up and need a Savior every day of our messed up life.
Therefore, with all that said, I propose this dare to those who feel bold. Find someone who you trust to pray with you. Confess a part of your messed-up life to them, and pray together for Jesus to add His intervention into your situation. If you do not already have someone who you can pray with, I invite you to leave a comment or send a private message to me, and I would be happy to pray with you or for you.
OK, I’m feeling bold. I’ll go first.
Many of you know that Jim and I have very recently divorced after a 20-year marriage. (That pretty much translates to “I've messed up.”) I am facing a lot of uncertainty and changes in the next few months, as many things will be happening that I wish I could avoid. Please pray for me.
Anybody else feeling bold?