praying for strangers…

Pastor Kevan stands at the pulpit with a stack of prayer requests, written a few minutes before by members of his congregation gathered for Wednesday night services.

Stacks of requests read one by one
Written with pen and paper
Written on hearts
Prayers lifting up
the sick
the unsaved
Healing for Robert and Grace and Bob and Steve and Hope’s friend at school
Prayer for an elderly mother
Prayer for a good outcome at the doctor’s tomorrow
For a family traveling to Ohio

I wrote down as much as I could keep up with, not that I knew any of these people that the church was praying for tonight. But knowing that I was there in their midst, a guest for the evening, and moved by the presence of God allowing me to simply affirm the spoken prayer while reading the names on my list.  Knowing that I could participate in this intimate form of worship as easily as I could sight-sing hymns from a somewhat foreign hymnal.

We can pray for strangers, and I think that God sees that this is good.  Jesus said the greatest commandment is “Love the Lord your God with  all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30, Deut.6:5). And the second, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:31, Lev.19:18) probably extends to many other areas of love and caring, including prayer for your neighbor.  Tonight those strangers were neighbors.  I’ll see them again in a few weeks, and pray some more.

מרנא תא Maranatha…

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