by Niki Turner
I visited New York City in the early '80s, shortly after the release of the first Ghostbusters movie. The Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man's footprints through Manhattan were still visible, spray painted on the streets for the film crews to follow. Ghostbusters brought with it an infamous question: When faced with problems that are beyond your control, "Who ya gonna call?"
In the past six months, I've called upon my Inky sisters more than once for prayer, and I've tried to honor their prayer requests with fervency, efficiency, and faith in response. More than once, I've physically, tangibly experienced the effect of their prayers, standing together with me in faith, in my life.
Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
James 5:16 NKJV
Calling on people with whom you have relationship, those with whom you share faith —share a "story"—is altogether different than sending out a blanket email or Facebook or Twitter request. It's different than randomly tossing out prayer requests. It's different, I think, than calling a prayer line, or adding your name to an anonymous chain. Are those things ineffective? I don't think so. I believe God honors the prayers of His saints, His children, as much as He possibly can. But there is a difference when we "call" on those with whom we have relationship to pray for specific, personal situations, and "calling" on strangers to pray for strangers.
God never intended for us to stand alone. He sent the disciples out by twos. He commanded us not to neglect fellowship with other believers. When we take the time, the effort, to build relationship within the Body, we are creating a network of faith upon whom we can "call" in time of need. Requesting prayer from people who know your heart, your hopes, your dreams, requires us to humble ourselves, and that puts us in a position of receiving.
There's nothing quite like having people praying for you. It opens a place of rest, of peace, in which you can relocate your own faith and direct your heart toward God's will. You can, literally, feel the prayers of the saints working with those saints are people you have been divinely connected to by God.
After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.
Acts 4:31 (from New International Version)
Who comes to mind as you read this post? Who are your personal prayer "peeps"? For whom do YOU pray? Or do you expect others to pray for you, yet you never pray for anyone else? Do you pray for your own needs? Or do you believe someone else's prayers might be better received at the Lord's throne, so you pass on the responsibility to others in fear that your own prayers won't be heard? (This is the equivalent of sending the youngest child to ask mom to give everyone a cookie, believing the youngest has greater favor by virtue of age and/or cuteness.)
Your "call group" might be found through your church, through a Bible study group, through a Christian volunteer organization, or even through a group connected electronically via the Internet - it might be a combination of the above. Where they live, what you have in common, or what denomination they claim, is less important than the relationship you share as Christians. I'm pretty choosy about who I share my prayer requests with. Why? Because I want people who will stand with me in faith, not people who will judge me for having a faith crisis, or folks who will broadcast my need far and wide like the Veggie Tales "rumor weed."
I don't believe God has left anyone out. I do think we are sometimes blind to the circle of faith in which He has placed us.You might have one friend, or 50, upon whom you call for agreement, but God has someone for everyone, and the prayers of that person or persons will humble you, inspire you, encourage you, and spur you to pray fervently for them. That, I believe is what we are supposed to be doing for each other.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Phil 4:6-7 (from New International Version)
On that note... a HUGE thank you to all my Inky sisters, for their faithfulness and commitment to pray, to lift each other up before the Lord, and to stand together in faith for whatever need arises, great or small. May every person who reads this find and know the same blessing!
SERIOUS QUESTION: When have you been aware - in a tangible way - of other people's prayers for you being heard and answered?
FRIVOLOUS QUESTION: What's the most ridiculous thing you've been "caught" praying for, only to find out it wasn't real at all?
Niki Turner writes romantic fiction, Christian non-fiction, blog posts, articles in the local newspaper, lengthy grocery lists, and Facebook status updates. Her first completed manuscript won second place in the 2009 Touched By Love contest for contemporary category romance. Colorado natives, Niki and her husband of 20+ years have four children (three at home) and are new grandparents to a baby boy. In 1998 they planted a church in rural northwestern Colorado. Currently, they share their home with three teenage boys, two black Lab mutts, and Niki’s absurdly spoiled Westie, Archie. Niki can be found at In Truer Ink, her personal blog and website, here at Inkwell Inspirations, and at The Pastor’s Wife Speaks.