Thursday, March 21, 2013

"Will You Pray For Us?"

The officer was not serious when he asked the question. Typical for that hour of the morning, we were spending our time enjoying some coffee before hitting the streets. It was not coincidence that we were loitering in one of the most often robbed convenience stores in the area. To say they were pleased with our lollygagging around is a massive understatement. The bad guys know our routine by now, no doubt. But there's nothing wrong with robbers knowing not to show up.
At any rate, the opportunity to enjoy a cup of coffee, sans doughnuts, provides more than enough time to rib one another unmercifully about most anything. That was the occasion for the unexpected request: "Will you pray for us?"
I replied in a bit more serious tone, "I always pray for you guys." And that is indeed the truth.
But the police officer was not quite satisfied.
"No, will you really pray for us?"
He was still laughing, not really serious, when he said it, but this time he struck a nerve with me.
How often do we pray for people like  we pray for a long list of missionaries? You know what I mean: "Bless the missionaries."
What does that mean?
Prayers so general that they really say nothing also accomplish nothing. If we are going to actually mean anything for anyone, we need to pray in ways that are more precise, more meaningful. The Lord might as well ask - and in fact, I think He has - "Would you like to be a bit more specific?"
Nothing could be more important than precise and meaningful prayer when we are praying for, say, police officers who are about to put their lives in danger. Or a loved one about to go through surgery. Or a family facing the death of a loved one.
You get the idea. There's a lot of difference between praying and really praying.
If you know what I mean.

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