For many years I had a dual role as both a youth and a children’s pastor. One of my responsibilities was leading children’s church. My favorite part of each Sunday was listening to these young children pray. Children pray from a place most of us adults have lost: a sincere heart.
Before our prayer time each week, we would ask the children if they had any prayer requests. Each child’s hand would shoot up because they all had something they wanted us to include. But children are born without filters, and sometimes I would cringe as they shared. One little girl raised her hand, and I asked what was on her heart. “Myyy-my-my mommy is really upset. She is missing something, and she thinks she might be pregnant again. She’s afraid to tell our daddy.”
“I hope this doesn’t make it out of this room and onto our Wednesday night prayer list,” I thought. Kids being kids, the group then continued listing their dogs, cats, baby dolls, sick grandmas and granddads, brothers, sisters and anything else they could think of in such a short time. In all my years of working with children, I never once had a child raise their hand and say, “I have an unspoken prayer request.”
Maybe that’s why Jesus loved children so much. They would tell Him whatever was on their hearts. As I have grown older, though, I’ve realized not everything can be vocalized in public. There comes a time when you can’t share a specific request with your friends and family because it needs to remain in your heart. I understand that.
I got a letter today with no return address. The person who wrote it wanted to remain anonymous. The handwritten letter simply said, “I read your articles in the Baptist Messenger, and I would like prayers for an unspoken request, if you would, please. Thank you so very much. I hope you don’t mind this request.”
My friend, since the only way I have of getting back to you and allowing you to keep your anonymity is to reach out through this publication, I want you to know how deeply humbled I am that you would give me the privilege of praying for you. I know you probably have lots of friends and family who surround you, but you were looking for someone else to safely take your burden before the Lord. The time it took you to write a note, put it in an envelope, stamp it and mail it tells me this concern lies deep within you. This isn’t a Wednesday prayer-meeting request where we ask God to be with all the sick people in the world. This is a heavy request guarded by your lips and your heart. I don’t need to know what it is. I understand because I have those same kinds of needs and concerns in my life, and I know from whence to pray.
So, my friend (I call you my friend because I get to bend a knee on your behalf), the incredible thing about this article being read by so many is that I can call upon tens of thousands to join me in praying for you. And right now, I would ask those of you who have been moved to pray for this person to join me in prayer. The only reason I write this article is so I can do Jesus’ ministry.
Father, I have a friend who needs You desperately. There is a pain and a concern that has moved this individual to cry out for others to surround them in prayer. There are no secrets in the heavenlies, Lord. You know who wrote this note, You know the dark place from which they write and only You know how to move in their life in the appropriate way. I pray first for peace, the peace that passes all understanding. I pray for wisdom that comes from above. I pray they will feel Your arms surrounding them and drawing them close as You whisper in their ear, “My child, I have it under control, and I will lead you through this.” I thank you for others who are joining me in the privilege of coming before Your throne with this request. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
My friend, I have prayed for you, and I have kept your note on my desk to remind me to keep praying.
Thank you, my extended Baptist Messenger family, for your willingness to stop reading and minister in Jesus’ name.
By the way, I’m still trying to figure out what to do with that little girl’s prayer request. But I’m pretty sure God has already answered.