Prayer Works Even When You're Uncertain
A couple of years ago I read several ideas for making the most of Christmas cards after the holidays. I hesitate to throw away the cards from friends and family, yet no one displays them year-round. One article suggested placing the cards in a bowl on the kitchen table and pulling a card each evening to pray over before dinner. While my family has a lovely ritual of blessing our food, I expected those cards would find themselves strewn all over the house instead of sitting sweetly in a bowl on the table.
For many years, I’ve spent time each morning in prayer. Two years ago I decided to stack all my Christmas cards and pull one each week for inclusion in my morning prayers. I choose whichever card happens to be on top of the stack, date it on the back, and return it to the bottom at the end of the week.
One morning last December, I sat in my closet to pray and looked at the family who I’d been praying over that week. The day before a tornado ripped through their neighborhood. My friend’s home lost a couple of shingles but otherwise had little damage. No one was home during the storm. The winds destroyed houses a couple of hundred yards away.
The coincidence startled me. I’d prayed for this family all week but knew little about their day-to-day lives. I prayed simple, but heartfelt, words of protection, healing, and joy for them.
In the spring our family embarked on a big move in the midst of a big pandemic. My prayer time increased, because, well, Covid. I continued to pull out cards this time from my new stack of 2019 Christmas cards.
Prior to everyone sending out cards this last year, I posted on social media about how I prayed over the families from whom I received cards at Christmas. Several other friends mailed cards to me because they believed in the power of praying friends.
During the summer, I pulled the card of a family whose business had been shut down by the pandemic. The week I prayed for them, they announced plans to close one business and launch a new one.
At the end of the summer, some long-time friends’ card found it’s way to the top of the stack. The week I prayed for them I discovered their son was returning home from deployment.
This week I looked at a card from a Facebook friend who I don’t know very well. Again, I prayed some general, yet heartfelt, words including “Lord you know the need.” Last night this woman shared on Facebook about a major health crisis she faced this week. A surgery took a turn and she landed in the ICU for several days. The day I chose her card for prayer, her surgeon performed a scary procedure and she received some difficult health news.
Tears filled my eyes when I read her story. God knew she needed additional prayers this week. If you ever wondered how important prayer is, let me remind you, it’s a lifeline. Not just for us, but for our friends. If you’ve felt that tiny nudge to pray for someone specific, do it. Take a minute. We all need someone to battle for us and with us, to storm heaven on our behalf. Even when you don’t know why you are praying, do it. You may never hear stories like these above, but your own heart will change. I promise.
And if you’d like to send me a Christmas card this year, shoot me an email. I’ll send you my mailing address.