Do you ever wonder if prayer really works? Do you worry about who you are praying for and who you should be praying for? 1 Thessalonians 5 says “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” That’s quite a demand!
I read the following story this week. My prayer is that it encourages you as it encouraged me.
Adrian does some supply work in secondary schools.
Like many a teacher, when he’s set the pupils some work, he often walks up and down the class, pausing here and there at a desk. No doubt the pupils think he is glancing over their work. No doubt sometimes he is. But often he’s praying for them by name. To remember that God loves every one of these pupils, that God answers prayer, and to pray and trust him for the answers, even though Adrian is very unlikely to see any difference himself, or be able to tell anyone else that something amazing has happened…
One day, like any other day, Adrian is in a class of 14-year-olds. He’s set them some work. He walks up and down the class. He stops by one of the boys and begins to pray. And then he hears God say this to him:
“No one has ever mentioned this boy’s name to me before.”
Imagine that! No one has ever mentioned this boy’s name to God before. No midwife, no health visitor, no parent, no uncle or aunt or grandparent, no sibling, no godparent, no lollipop person, no doctor, no primary school teacher, no football coach or sweetshop owner or bus driver, no schoolfriend… no one.
But God was listening, waiting it seems, alert at that moment to the fact that, though there are 7.8 billion people on his planet, and no doubt hundreds of thousands of prayers being offered at that very moment, someone was at last lifting this particular 14-year-old person to his throne. To him.
God hears every prayer!
God cares for every person. Indeed, one might wonder why Adrian chose to stop at that particular desk and pray for that particular boy. After all, he didn’t stop at every desk or pray for every child in the class. Perhaps God really wanted someone to pray for that particular boy, yearned for that boy to be lifted to his throne. And worked through Adrian to bring it about.
There is mystery here, but praying for the people around us, as we are led, however briefly, is something we can all do. And when Jesus returns, we will indeed get to see how he has worked through the things we regard as little, and created something gloriously beautiful.
Who could you pray for, right now?
[from Alison Franks]