Had I not prayed

Pastoral Messages | June 11, 2019

Recently I attended a high school graduation for a young person who doubted whether or not she’d ever walk across that stage. She had some barriers in her life, like others of her peers, but walk she did and I was there to glimpse her proud smile and indigo graduate garb.

And I credit my knowledge of this event, and presence at it, to prayer.

You see, I wouldn’t have known about this young person’s struggles and challenges if I weren’t friends with her supervisor and mentor who has lifted her in prayer to me when we gather to catch up and come before our Lord each Sunday morning before the day’s responsibilities get started.

Don’t get me wrong. We pray about all kinds of things. Our work, those in our care, the worship day before us and, on more than one occasion, we’ve cried out to God about our fickle Iowa weather.

But recently, I’ve learned about other concerns. And I wouldn’t have known about the graduation plans, joy and transformation of this young person if it weren’t for prayer.

I have long been a woman of private, personal prayer practices. I’ve kept dozens of journals with my scribbles, scriptural ponderings, praises and woes to my Creator – all of this has been vital to me in my spiritual life. But to pray with another? Ah. This is something all together different. When we pray with one another we join forces, we set our selfishness down – at least momentarily – as we call upon a holy God. And in the midst of all this, the enemy doesn’t stand a chance.

A few weeks ago, I attended a high school graduation for someone I didn’t know very well – because of prayer. Because of prayerful insight, I got to bear witness to a petite but proud teenager marching across a stage to grasp her diploma. And not only that, but also the almost undetectable tears of joy from my friend who helped this young woman reach her success.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 urges believers to “Rejoice often, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances.” I saw this made manifest in, of all places, at a high school graduation. Not only that, I renewed my commitment to being a person of prayer. Not just in the private musings of my mind, but in the company of others. I feel even more committed to this practice because of the transformation it brings. What might it unearth in our lives when we join our hearts in prayer to another’s? I look forward to finding out…

-Pastor Kendra Thompson

One comment on “Had I not prayed”

  • David DeWit

    June 14, 2019 at 4:24 pm

    Thanks, Kendra, for reminding us of a spiritual discipline that seems to be kind of forgotten lately: outside-of-church “intercessory” prayer done either individually or in small groups of fellow Christians.

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Malachi 3:1-4

The Coming Messenger 3 See, I am sending my messenger to prepare the way before me, and the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple. The messenger of the covenant in whom you delight—indeed, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. 2 But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap; 3 he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, until they present offerings to the Lord in righteousness.[a] 4 Then the offering of Judah and Jerusalem will be pleasing to the Lord as in the days of old and as in former years.

Hebrews 2:14-18

14 Since, therefore, the children share flesh and blood, he himself likewise shared the same things, so that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by the fear of death. 16 For it is clear that he did not come to help angels, but the descendants of Abraham. 17 Therefore he had to become like his brothers and sisters[a] in every respect, so that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make a sacrifice of atonement for the sins of the people. 18 Because he himself was tested by what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested.

Luke 2:22-40

Jesus Is Presented in the Temple 22 When the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male shall be designated as holy to the Lord”), 24 and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in the law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves or two young pigeons.” 25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon;[a] this man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.[b] 27 Guided by the Spirit, Simeon[c] came into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him what was customary under the law, 28 Simeon[d] took him in his arms and praised God, saying, 29 “Master, now you are dismissing your servant[e] in peace, according to your word; 30 for my eyes have seen your salvation, 31 which you have prepared in the presence of all peoples, 32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for glory to your people Israel.” 33 And the child’s father and mother were amazed at what was being said about him. 34 Then Simeon[f] blessed them and said to his mother Mary, “This child is destined for the falling and the rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be opposed 35 so that the inner thoughts of many will be revealed—and a sword will pierce your own soul too.” 36 There was also a prophet, Anna[g] the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, having lived with her husband seven years after her marriage, 37 then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped there with fasting and prayer night and day. 38 At that moment she came, and began to praise God and to speak about the child[h] to all who were looking for the redemption of Jerusalem. The Return to Nazareth 39 When they had finished everything required by the law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40 The child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.