Sunday, February 06, 2005

what happens when we pray for other people

In Luke 5. 17, Jesus is teaching, and in that moment a group brings a man to him who is paralyzed. Those carrying the man, on a bed, attempt to lay their friend before the Lord, but the room is so crowded that they are forced to go to the rooftop, and lift him down beneath the tiles. Jesus is amazed by their faith.

During Lent, folks in our congregation are praying for 5 persons over the next 40 days. This simple discipline is not unlike the effort of those who bring a friend into the presence of Jesus. You will simply attempt, each day, to bring 5 persons into the presence of Jesus. In this way your prayer will connect some human need with the Lord who always knows our needs and responds to them. And so when you pray for a person in your family who needs God’s grace the most, or a person for whom you are grateful, or a person with whom you have conflict, or a person who has a material need, or a person who needs to know Jesus Christ, you are following the example of those who sought to bring their friend closer to the Lord.

Take a moment, right now, to identify these five persons.
Say their names, silently.
Imagine that they are being lifted into the presence of Jesus, who already knows their needs. Begin to pray, right now, and every day for the next forty days.

Thomas Merton has written, The great thing is prayer. Prayer itself. If you want a life of prayer, the way to get it is by praying.”


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