Last Sunday at Faith Village, before our evening worship, four words touched me deeper than four million words said to me last month. One of our dear sisters at Faith Village pulled me aside as I was putting on my microphone and said, “I prayed for you.” She was even very specific as to when.
My Sunday routine is the same every week. Every. Single. Week. Unless there’s one of those extenuating circumstances of life we can’t predict, my morning will run like clockwork. My alarm blares at 5:30 AM. I get ready, go to Starbucks for a cup of coffee (and recently the Bacon Egg Bites—if you haven’t bought those overpriced bites of joy you’re really missing out), and then head to the building where I practice my sermon to an empty auditorium so I can give my best delivery when the congregation assembles. I then spend time in prayer for the day, praying for members by name I know are hurting, praying for the blessing of the day, and praying God would use my fallible voice and feeble words solely for His glory and the betterment of His Kingdom.
This sister knew all of this about me, so she made sure to say, “I prayed for you at 7:00 this morning, knowing you were arriving at the building to begin your routine.” Her husband preached for many years. She knows too well the emotional and physical exhaustion Sunday brings to the preacher. He wants to give his very best. He wants to be on “his game”. He wants to make a difference. And this only happens through prayer. A preacher can’t be successful through his own efforts. After decades of watching her husband endure and conquer the challenges of ministry, she understands, so she wanted me to know, “I prayed for you.” Those words meant so much, especially coming from her.
Her “gift” got me to thinking—how much deeper would our friendships and fellowships be in the body of Christ if we reminded each other of those four simple words more and more? “I prayed for you.” And not just mentioning prayer in general, but describing specific times and specific reasons. When we know a sister is enduring the painful anniversary of losing her husband of 40 years, what if we all sent her a text or email that morning saying, “I prayed for you”? Better yet, even a phone call! Or a young woman on Mother’s Day watching other mothers celebrate when she so desperately wants to be a mom but can’t, what if went out of our way to tell her that afternoon, “I prayed for you”? Not just “I thought of you”—“I prayed for you.” Or parents who have buried children because of war or service to their country, when Memorial Day holiday rolls around, rather than just consuming a hot dog and ice cream, taking the time to drop by, ring the doorbell, and say, “Can I pray for you?” Through prayer, not only do we connect with God, but we strengthen our connection with each other.
With those same four words, the apostle Paul laid out his heart’s desire before the church at Thessalonica, “Brothers, pray for us.” (1st Thessalonians 5:25) Regardless of what storm we’re facing or what job we’re taking, we want those same words of love: “I prayed for you.” Who can you gift with those words today?