If you read my post this past Sunday, you already know that my wife and I–and our collective adult kids–are crazy about making and using wish lists. Especially at this time of year.
But I mentioned that we keep and use another kind of list as well. One that’s even more important.
That’s a prayer list. A list of the people we know about who have special needs we can do nothing better for than to pray.
Each of us has one or more lists, although our lists probably overlap a great deal.
We normally pray aloud before eating breakfast and supper, and I’m usually the one to do that. I have a number of items on my mealtime prayer list, and I don’t try to cover them all during one short prayer. Sometimes I do.
First I pray for our family, church, nation, and the people of Nicaragua (our church has an ongoing ministry with some churches in Nicaragua).
Next I pray for what I lovingly refer to as “our pregnant trio.” That includes my daughter and–until last week–one of Kathleen’s, who’s since had her baby.
Then comes a series of men, women, and children we know of with special needs. Right now, that begins with prayer for my father-in-law, who–after years of suffering 24/7–appears to be near death. At one point we would have prayed for his healing. Now we pray for God’s will to be done. Many of the other people on this part of the list have been on it for years now, but their needs continue and we can’t stop praying for them.
We also pray at mealtime for people we know of who’re grieving or perhaps have been grieving for a while. That’s especially important at this time of year.
I have my own private prayer list as well, which includes several people I never knew well, but nonetheless have concerns about their spiritual needs. This list started years ago with only two or three names, but has grown to fifteen-plus, including a Muslim who believes he can be both a Christian and a Muslim. I also pray for his family; I don’t know their individual names.
If you’re not a Christian–or someone who believes in a “god” of some sort–keeping a prayer list and using it daily may sound a bit strange. But we believe it’s important. The Bible teaches that God’s children are to ask Him for the things they want–but not like reeling off a wish list–and we believe God answers prayer. Not always the way we want–He sees things from a totally different perspective from us–but the way He knows is best.
Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before his crucifixion. He asked God the Father to spare Him from the suffering He’d come to earth to endure for our sake. But He concluded His prayer with the words God always honors: “Not my will, but Yours.”
God may not answer our prayers for the many people on our lists the way we want, but we can be certain He’ll do what’s best according to His will and His purposes.
Is prayer real to you? Do you pray regularly? Do you expect answers? How about leaving a comment?
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