During the night I wake up to check the fires in the wood stoves and to add more wood as needed to keep the house warm. While it only takes about 5-10 minutes to get both fires checked, I have been using this time to pray for people who cross my mind. I had not realized I was doing it at first. Someone would come to mind, I would simply pray whatever came to mind about them.
Many people in my life are believers who pray, but I know that praying for them still matters. Even as a believer whose prayers are heard by the God of Heaven, knowing others are also praying for me helps remind me I am not alone.
Paul, James, and Peter too, wrote to remind the Church to pray for each other. James said it clearly in chapter 5:13-20 (HCSB, bold mine):
Is anyone among you suffering? He should pray. Is anyone cheerful? He should sing praises. Is anyone among you sick? He should call for the elders of the church, and they should pray over him after anointing him with olive oil in the name of the Lord.
The prayer of faith will save the sick person, and the Lord will restore him to health; if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The urgent request of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours; yet he prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and for three years and six months it did not rain on the land. Then he prayed again, and the sky gave rain and the land produced its fruit.
My brothers, if any among you strays from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his life from death and cover a multitude of sins.
I used to skip these verse a lot. I didn’t understand them, they seemed boring even. Now, I hear the wisdom, crave the prayers, and find peace in the promises in each word.
Prayers of healing (this side of Heaven or in Heaven itself), prayers of reconciliation, prayers of redemption for the prodigals. Reminders that a man, just like us prayed for no rain and God heard him, answering his prayers.
Best Beloved, we are to encourage and tend the fires within our hearts, but also within the hearts of our brothers and sisters. We are called on again and again to pray for our brothers and sisters who are in chains, those in need of comfort, wisdom, healing strength, and power from the Holy Spirit.
Be the fire-tender for your family and friends. For the person you pass on the sidewalk in town, the person you drive past on the roads to work. The very prayer you pray may never be known to them, but will be heard by your Heavenly Father, who may take those prayers and turn them into answers.
Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken. And thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire, (Hebrews 12:28-29 ESV).
May our prayers be incense to Him, sweet, pure, and holy.