Yup, that’s what the prayer request slip said. Someone slipped it into the prayer box hanging near our church door. Written in bold black marker, it was the first request we’d received since we began our neighborhood prayer initiative.
Our church believes one of the greatest gifts we can give people is to pray for them. During the six weeks leading up to Easter we’d been blanketing the neighborhood in prayer. Every Saturday morning we’d walk a different street and stop at each house to pray silently for its occupants. Then we’d leave a doorknocker saying, “We prayed for your household today.”
On our Facebook page one man left a comment that said, “Pray that narrow-minded bigots will accept gay marriage.” Another, in response to the doorknocker left at his house, said, “Great, just what I need, another piece of trash to clog up the landfill.” (I wonder if this man also leaves negative comments on Domino’s page in response to the discount pizza coupons they often leave in paper boxes.)
Comments like these sometimes catch us by surprise. Our intent is to bless people, so when they react negatively, or with hostility or rudeness, we’re taken aback. We know how precious the gift of prayer is and find it hard to imagine why someone would reject such an offer.
God’s Word has an explanation:
“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” (1 Cor. 1:18).
Praying to a God you cannot see? Foolishness!
Asking him to do something on someone else’s behalf? Foolishness!
Spending beautiful spring mornings tromping around a neighborhood praying for people you don’t even know? Foolishness!
Responding with gentleness and respect to those who mock you? Foolishness!
“But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong” (1 Cor. 1:27).
And so we keep on praying.
We pray for the one who wrote, “Thank you so much for doing this. Please pray for my sister, who’s going through chemotherapy.”
We pray for the one who wrote, “Please pray for my mom. She’s having medical tests this week.”
We pray for the one who wants Republicans to vanish from the earth.
And for the one who thinks an offer of prayer is something you throw away.
We ask God to open their hearts to believe, and we believe he will do it.
“The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (Jas. 5:16).
Are you praying for someone who’s rejecting you? Don’t stop. God promises—you will reap a harvest if you don’t give up (Gal. 6:9).
“Men may spurn our appeals, reject our message, oppose our arguments, despise our persons, but they are helpless against our prayers.” ~J. Sidlow Baxter
Stepping Out! How Our Footwear Impacts Our Faith
If you're in the Lexington, South Carolina area, I'd love for you to join me at Riverbend Community Church, 1015 Corley Mill Road, on Saturday, April 16 from 10-12:30 for their Annual Spring Luncheon. Cost is $5 and includes food, fun, and fellowship.
Slip on your favorite shoes, grab a friend, and come on!
Reserve your spot by calling the church office at (803)356-8596.