Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Intercession for Those We Do Not Know

With all of the other things that have been going on in my life, my intercession postings have fallen behind, although the intercession continues.  The next three pages of my intensive care prayer concerns are for people whom I have never met.  Those who are close to them have shared a little of their stories with me and I sensed that they needed my prayer support. 
            I found out about Suzanne (not her real name) from her aunt.  We were at a writers’ conference together and as we chatted over lunch one day, we confided something of our own backgrounds.  Suzanne’s aunt herself had quite a remarkable story of transformation and the tears that came to her eyes showed me she cared deeply about this niece.  Suzanne is an orphan.  Both her mother and father are gone and she has been in the care of her stepfather.  Life has sent multiple difficulties her way. Only grace will enable her to learn to enjoy things that many of us take for granted.  Every day I pray for Suzanne and when I see her aunt or exchange e-mails with her from time to time, she is excited to know that Suzanne is still being remembered in my prayers.  I do not know what is in store for Suzanne.  I do know that somehow my prayers are making a difference, even if it just means that they help her not to give up in despair.  Perhaps some day I will learn more of her story or I may never know more than I know now.  That does not matter so much.  What is important is that she is being carried into the presence of the Lord daily, in prayer. 
            Another young woman who struggles with her life situation is Lorraine (not her real name).  She lives in Europe.  Although I have never met her, Glen and I do know her parents.  Lorraine is one of many people who battle clinical depression.  She is married and has children, but when her illness is most acute, she is unable to function in these relationships.  She is dependent on her parents to help her keep going one day at a time.  She has waged this combat for years, sometimes winning and sometimes feeling that she is losing the fight.  My heart went out to her when I heard recently that she was again facing her old enemy, depression.  Glen suggested that I again add her name to my prayer list.  I do not know how my prayers will help Lorraine overcome her depression, yet I believe that somehow power is released in prayer that will enable her to slowly move toward the light.  My prayer is that some day she will be able to again enjoy the love of her family and know that she is loved unconditionally by her Heavenly Father, even when she cannot feel or respond to love.  How thankful I am that I can carry her into the Lord’s presence when she cannot go there in her own strength. 
            Lorraine is not the only person I know who is suffering from clinical depression.  There are others on my critical care prayer list.  They include a young man whom I will call Paul.  Although he is an adult, he is currently not in a relationship and is living with his recently widowed mother.  She was the one who told me his story.  For years, his grandmother prayed faithfully for this young man.  Then, last fall, she died and both mother and son felt the loss acutely.  One of the things they missed the most was her prayers.  Every day she prayed for them. Hearing that, I promised to try to fill that role for them by including them in my prayers.  I hope that some day someone else will come into their lives who can fulfill that role, perhaps someone who lives closer to them.  Their home is two time zones away from where I live.  What would be a real encouragement to me would be for them both to realize that their own prayers for themselves and for each other can be heard by God and answered.  These requests make up some of the things I pray for them, as I offer my prayers each day.  

Monday, June 13, 2011

Sharing in the Ministry of Others

Some of the people that I support with prayer are those whom I also support financially.  One of the joys of having a regular income is being able to donate to those who depend upon the resources of others for the ministry that they are doing.  When I am able to make my regular monthly donation, I feel like I have a part in the good work that they are doing. That is why I am so grateful when they keep me up-to-date on their activities.  Just today, in the mail, I received the monthly newsletter of the person whose name prompted this blog.  As well as filling me in on her activities, she also lists particular prayer requests that she has and gives the dates and different activities in which she is involved.  These all enable me to pray more intelligently for her and for her ministry.

My daughter is expecting her first baby, our first grandchild.  Since she had some difficulty about conception, I have been praying daily for Elizabeth and for the baby she is carrying.  I have wanted a grandchild for a long time and been envious of my friends, as I have watched their joy in sharing in the lives of their children’s children.  Now I am so exciting about this new addition coming into our family.  I know it is going to create a significant change in the life of our daughter and her husband, and I know that they are going to discover of depth of love that they never could have imagined exists, as this little one enters their lives.  For that reason, I feel that every day I need to pray for both the parents and the child who is growing within the body of daughter.  Already, her approaching responsibilities as a mother have been drawing Elizabeth and I closer to each other.  As I pray for the child and the pregnancy, I am aware that I need prayer for myself as well, that I will have wisdom not to try to impose what I have learned about parenting on my daughter and son-in-law, unless they ask my advice.  I need to let her learn the best way to do things herself.  The world in which she will be raising her children is not the world in which I raised mine.  Nor did I do everything right.  I am sure that there will be things that I can learn from her, if I am willing. 

I pray for another rather unique group of people.  A Christian organization in our city, twice each year sends some of the workers to the spring and fall psychic fairs that take place here.  They do not go to dabble in the occult.  What they do is meet with people to present another alternative.  The Truth they offer is what many people are looking for.  With the concern expressed in listening to people and praying for them, at each fair, a number of people decide to become Christians.  Along with meeting the visitors to the psychic fair, praying with them and if they are willing, introducing them to Christ, the organization also prepares a list of the first names and a little information about each one.  This they send out to the organization’s prayer supporters.  When I receive the names of the individuals I begin to pray through the list focusing on one name every day.  I think this kind of prayer support is crucial for those who are often brand new to the faith.  The organization is also faithful in following up by personal contact with these new believers, if they agree, so it is not just a one shot deal.  Again, I find great joy in participating in a ministry that I might not feel particularly suited to do myself, but can support by my prayers.