Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Intercession - Intensive Care Requests and Country Concerns

I noted that some of the daily prayer requests that I have are what would be considered intensive care patients if they were in a hospital. One of those is the son of one of my work colleagues. His situation is complex and because of his circumstances, he has been obliged to deal with the complexities of our legal system for several years. His circumstances are precarious but his faith is strong that eventually truth will conquer. In the meantime, in order to keep going and not lose heart he and his family need the prayers of their brothers and sisters in the faith. I am so glad that I am able to be one of his stretcher-bearers, bringing him to the Lord when he is no longer able to come in his own strength and cheering him on when he is able to stand on his feet. I do not know many of the details of his story nor do I need to. All I need to know is that he is committed to doing what he believes is right and dealing with all that comes his way as a result. As I pray for this man and his challenges, I am grateful that through no merit of mine, I have not had to walk the path he is walking, but I can by my prayers accompany him.

Last fall when I attended Missions Globales, the Montreal version of Missions Fest, there was a table where you could sign up to pray for a particular country. I was planning to go to Cartagena, Colombia to accompany some of our Opportunity International donors for a visit to see how their donations were being stewarded. When I saw that Colombia was on the list of countries, I requested the information so that I could begin then to pray for Colombia. I felt that it would be a good preparation for me to be open to the people of Colombia.

I remembered how when I first went to live in France, I had begun to pray for the people there as I met them and for that country. I recall how it made me open to learn about them and the things that were important to them, as I began to learn the language and communicate with them.

The experience was similar in Colombia, although I certainly do not yet have the grasp of Spanish that I do of French. Nevertheless, I sensed an attitude of openness in the Colombians that gave me courage to try the limited vocabulary that I had and their smiles rewarded me for my efforts, especially when they actually understood what I was saying.

The list of requests that I received for Colombia included some generic requests that would apply for any country as well as some requests specific to Colombia. The kit also provided some background information like the main industries and population density, as well as other data about the country that gave me a greater understanding of what I might expect. However, when I arrived in Cartagena it seemed a different place entirely. I had no idea it was so beautiful. I had no idea that the people were so kind and friendly. I had no idea of the grinding poverty and the dreadful history that has been the lot of so many of our industrious, devoted clients. What a privilege was mine to meet them. Now when I pray for Colombia each day, it is with a far more personal understanding of the challenges and potential of this beautiful country. Here is a video of it if you would like to see Cartagena for yourself and the work that we do there.


Thursday, May 19, 2011


Lately, I have been using my blog to share with you some of the interviews about my book. Now I need to get back to the subject of intercession. Continuing to work through my lists provides fodder for my reflections.

This morning, Glen and I were in Ottawa to attend the National Prayer Breakfast. At that event, I had an opportunity to greet the next couple on my list. Although, in a sense their needs might not be considered acute, the responsibilities that they carry make me feel that they need to be on the daily list. This couple is now doing the jobs that my husband, Glen and I were doing when we retired early from ministry in The Salvation Army in 2008. We know how demanding their work is, with hours of travel across this country and to other countries as well as the demands of being part of the decision-making processes in The Salvation Army. When I pray for them, I feel a sense of relief that we no longer have to carry their responsibilities. At the same time, I am compelled to pray for grace and strength for them to be able to try to accomplish all that is demanded of them as leaders is such a large Christian organization.

Were I temped to second guess their decisions, since they inevitably will approach some situations differently than we would, I think that bringing them before the Lord every day in my prayers can mitigate against that. I also think that just being made aware of them and their needs keeps me from criticizing them. It is so easy for us to fall into the habit, of somehow thinking that those who follow us will not maintain the direction that we have chosen to take in the decisions about how our work should be done, so the work will not be done the right way. That is nonsense! Perhaps praying for them helps me to avoid such foolish thinking.

A new list of prayer requests is sent to me every Sunday from the coordinator of The Word Guild Prayer Team. These are prayer requests that have been made by the members of The Word Guild. The list is usually from six to eight pages, so I work my way through one page of the prayer requests per day and by the time the next request arrives and I print it out, I have completed praying through the previous list. As a professional member of The Word Guild, with a full time occupation in the ministry of philanthropy, I cannot offer a lot of time to help with volunteer work for this fine organization. One thing I can do is give attention to the prayer requests, since I am committed to spending time in intercession anyway. This also keeps me abreast of the needs of my fellow writers and provides occasions to offer an occasional word of encouragement or hope, usually by e-mail. At the annual Write! Canada conferences, members of the prayer team have the chance to get together. We usually meet together, early every morning for prayer for the conference. This gives us all a chance to put faces to the names we are familiar with as fellow members of the prayer team.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Reasons for Intercession

Since my last blog about intercession, I received an interesting note from one of my friends who lives in France and has been reading the blog. She asked me why it is necessary to continue to pray for the same people many times. Once we have offered our requests to the Lord on their behalf is that not enough?

One of the daily readings that she uses has been speaking about the futility of bringing the same needs to the Lord repeatedly. I do agree that there is no point in just praying the same prayers every day for the same people. I also believe that our situations change from day to day and some folks for whom I pray may not need the prayer too much one day, but the next day they find themselves in a place where they do need that kind of support. I hope to show a little of how that works as we continue to look at some of the prayer concerns that have been presented to me for intercession.

As I move through that first large folder, the next list that I encounter is the list of all of the people who currently make up the congregation of the church that Glen and I attend, The Salvation Army, Montreal Citadel. I note the name of an individual or a couple each day and pray for them. If the Scripture I read as I pray for them seems particularly appropriate for them, I will underline it and have it on record to give them, if an appropriate occasion were to arise. For the first couple of years that I was back in Montreal, I sent a card to each person with the date that I prayed for them as an encouragement to them. Now my days are so full that I find I am not able to do that. I am hoping to find someone in our congregation who has the time and the willingness to take on that task for me.

The next person on my list is someone that I met at a conference in 2006. It was a weekend for Christian women who were in business or in ministry. As we met together, it was clear that the women in ministry outnumbered those in business and it was easy to forget that the world in which business women work is often quite unlike the one in which we carry on our various ministries. This particular woman was quite articulate and as I sensed the challenges that she faces in business, I found that a desire was born in me to try to be a support to her. As we chatted together after one of the workshops, I asked if she would mind if I added her to my prayer list. She was pleased at the suggestion.

Two years later, we found ourselves again at the same conference. This time, she had come because she knew that I was going to be there and she wanted to spend some time together, so she took me out for lunch. It was so good to know that she was grateful for my daily intercession for her. I continue to remember her each day. We are seldom in contact with each other and I know that the Lord is with her and blessing and using her and I have a small part to play in that.

We will continue to consider the names and requests in the next blog. In the meantime, if you have a question that you think I might be able to shed some light on through these conversations, please feel free to contact me. Perhaps you can help me to learn to become a better intercessor. I would be so grateful.


Sorry folks that I have not been able to keep up with the Intercession blogs. I will continue. In the meantime, I wanted to share with you what I have been doing. I did an interview with Moira Brown on 100 Huntley Street. It is about my book More Questions than Answers, Sharing Faith by Listening. That is why I have not posted. If you want to see the interview, there are two videos and I will post the links here. The first is: http://100huntley.com/video.php?id=zjSkTG9AjlI and the second is: http://www.100huntley.com/video.php?id=lZfR5PW0huI
I will continue the Intercession blogs shortly. Stay tuned.