|It Seems to Me...we need preparation when we plan to pray for others on the spot.|
A colleague recently told me they were planning a Prayer Station on a college campus. This is the season when many churches have prayer booths at county fairs and community celebrations. It occurred to me that even the most seasoned intercessor needs some preparation before they invite people to come to them for prayer.
Here are a few questions they would do well to anticipate from those stopping at their table/booth:
Q. “Why are you doing this?”
We believe in the reality of prayer … we believe our Creator is relational and wants us to present our need to him … we have experienced benefits from praying …
…If you allowed us to pray for you, what would you most want us to pray about?
Q. “Who are you praying to?”
We are Christ followers . . . we pray to the one who created all life and matter. We pray in the name and authority of Christ; God’s one-of-a-kind messenger/savior. Jesus spoke to our Father in heaven daily and in times of great trouble or anguish. Would you permit us to pray to Jesus on your behalf? What need/request comes to your mind?
Q. “I don’t believe in God, what difference would it make?”
Our purpose in praying is for you to be blessed with faith in all that is real, filled with hope for all that can take place in your life and for love to transform you or any need or situation you face. Everyone needs a boost of faith, hope or love.
Could we briefly pray for more faith or hope or love in your life?
If they answer no to that question: Where do you find faith, hope and love? What is the source for that hope?
Q. “I’ve tried prayer; it does not work.”
We actually agree. Prayer is not magic nor is it a method that requires God to give us exactly what we ask for. Prayer is a word that describes an ongoing relationship, which includes communication–talking and listening. When we ask God for something specific (help, healing, hope, heaven, salvation) we remember that God is not a vending machine. Our Father in heaven has the knowledge, wisdom, and resources he knows we best need and in his love responds, though often in ways unexpected.
May we come to God on your behalf simply asking for his best action in your need/life?
Q. If the person requesting prayer begins to share a long, life story, one suited for counseling session but not a Prayer Station setting:
Forgive my interruption (to the person about to tell you their life story). Less is more when it comes to this type of prayer. The less information you give me, the more I am able to listen to God’s Spirit about how to pray. What is your _________ (deepest hurt or most pressing need or most confusing concern)?
It seems to me the more we equip pray-ers in the details of the situation (who, what, where, when, why) the more they will be able to get to the how (“Holy Spirit, how do I pray for this person?”) part. Preparation and coordination among the members integrates simple human encounters with a spiritual dynamic as they invite the presence of the Spirit, a revelation of Christ as the way, the truth, the life, and anticipate a faith-response to our heavenly Father.