Ever have one of those days where you just feel down? You think to yourself, “I should call someone. It would be good just to talk.” But then you talk yourself out of it because you don’t just want to whine or gripe. Nevertheless, you can’t quite seem to get yourself out of the funk you feel. You need a prayer ally.
Ever get some news that is hard to process? You want help, but you aren’t quite ready for the whole congregation to know, but some prayer would sure be appreciated. A prayer ally is what you need.
Ever feel frustrated with God? Life? Church? Family? You know the Holy Spirit groans on your behalf even when you can’t find the words to pray, but wouldn’t it be nice if a tangible person you could phone, text or email with was assuring you of their prayers? A prayer ally is just what the pastor ordered.
Recently, as I was preparing for a sermon, I came across this in a commentary as pastor P.C. Enniss reflected on the significance of touch in the scriptures:
One recent experiment was designed to test the efficacy of prayer on patients suffering from comparable illnesses. The members of one group, located on the east coast, were each assigned the name of an ill person on the west coast with whom they were not acquainted and instructed to pray every day for the person’s health. The members of the other group were each given the name of an ill person whom they knew personally and who was a member of their own church. Similar instructions were given, to prayer for the ill people every day. The patients who had no intimate relationship with their prayer partner showed no significant difference in improvement from the general public, whereas members of the group who had developed a social relationship with their prayer partners indicated a decided difference in improvement and quality of life.
What an interesting study! It seems to indicate that prayers prayed by someone you have a relationship with and hold the common ground of a shared church experience are more effective. That’s the power of relationship; the power of being plugged into God and connected with each other.
What if Oakwood developed meaningful relationships within our congregation? Relationships formed around prayer for each other. We would feel less isolated. We would be more connected to God. We would be serving one another. We would be building a shield of prayer by becoming a community that prays. We would be able to testify to one another about the difference our God makes. Those stories might even multiply… and the effect may well be a multiplication of our community as we share and pray and follow Jesus by becoming a people of prayer.
Take your place in the Prayer Shield! Let's see what God does.
To sign up to participate in Oakwood's Prayer Shield, email firstname.lastname@example.org.