One of the most humbling things one can do in life is to ask for help. And one of the most most humbling things we can do is to ask people to pray for us and our situations. It's humbling because it's an indication that we can do nothing in our own power to change our events or situations.
It's precisely because we walk through the humility of asking for prayer for help, that God has great room to work and answer our prayers. God has indicated to us that he gives grace to the humble and humility is in action whenever we ask for prayer. God gives what is needed to the one who is broken, humbled, and unable to fix the situation themselves.
This is why my heart does a leap when people come and ask for prayer. Not just a "Pray for me when you have a second padre," but an "I want you to lay hands on me or anoint me with oil" kind of prayer. That kind of prayer effects much. That kind of humility gives God a good deal of room to work in a life.
It's always been a thing for me that people should be able to ask more and be prayed for much more than we do in our churches already. Not just the passing "Pray for me" kind of thing like I said, but there should be a context wherein people can ask for that kind of prayer and get it, whenever and as often as they would like. Because it changes people, and it gives God lot's of room to work in them.
Anyway It's time to deal with this ongoing back pain I've struggled with, so in listening to my own preaching, I asked the deacons who were already meeting if they would pray for me and give me the whole works, oil, hands on, prayer. Normally because I'm the pastor, I usually lead the charge into prayers like this, but this time as I told the prayers, I would just act like a sponge. And so as an act of obedience to scripture, the deacons gathered around me, and anointed my head with oil and prayed for me. And God came.
Yes I believe God is everywhere, but some times and places he's more everywhere than he is at other times, if you know what I mean. I saw things, and felt things and experienced things that were and are a part of my sense of God being present in that space, and I acted like a sponge. I soaked in their prayers and God was moving and very very present.
They prayed for a good while and after they were done so was I. I sat there, head back on the couch, eyes unwilling or unable to open, just soaking in God's grace. It was so very good.
I am watching for the fruit of the prayer time, apart from the wonderful delights of being prayed for by others. Physically, emotionally, spiritually, I'm watching for the fruit of that time, to see what is what with it all.
Why share that here? Because I want you to know how good it can be when you are able to ask for prayer. When you are able to rest upon another's ability to carry you in prayer, and God's ability to pour himself into your greatest need.
In the ancient church this was one of the important parts of a two year mentorship process with a church elder. They would regularly lay hands on you and pray for you and that would be a significant part of your changing reality. We need to remember this strong powerful work because it effects people and changes who they are, because we are always changed when we come face to face with creator God.
Prayer. It's not just for your aunt's ingrown toenail any more.