Looking back, I recall the many times that I had done stupid things, yet somehow I didn’t get hurt. Specifically, I remember my university days as being full of stupidity. For instance, one cold November evening I decided to leave a house party and walk home. This wouldn’t have been so bad, however, it was 2:00 in the morning, I hadn’t told anyone I was going, and I had to walk 45 minutes to get home. When I think back, I shudder. Any number of bad things could have happened to me.
I made some poor choices, and although I suffered the consequences I sometimes felt as if the consequences were not as bad as they could have been. It recently occurred to me that I was being watched over and protected. I now know that my family frequently prayed for me. Although I wasn’t serving God at the time, I was being covered in prayer by those who were. I am now led to believe that people I didn’t even know were praying for me. I make this assumption, not because I now know these people, but because I witnessed people praying for complete strangers.
In church and at Bible studies, prayer requests are often made for those we do not know. As part of a Christian writer’s group, I receive prayer requests via email for people I may never meet in my lifetime. Listening to Christian radio stations, prayer requests are voiced for others throughout the country and the world. As a member of many Christian associations, I receive newsletters and phone calls requesting prayer for strangers.
More recently, I witnessed first hand the outpouring of love for strangers through prayer. I was traveling east with a van full of women. We were excited about the conference we were going to together. However, on our drive we saw a slowdown of traffic on the opposite highway. There were police cars, ambulance, and fire truck lights flashing. In the centre of it all was a car, overturned on its roof. Another car was near with a smashed front end. The accident scene looked horrible. We automatically stopped our chatter and took a moment to pray aloud for the victims in the accident. We prayed for complete strangers. Although we may never know who they were, we followed Jesus’ directive to love our neighbours.
It’s comforting to know that my family and I are being prayed for. And I will continue to pray for people I don’t even know.
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests” (Ephesians 6:18 NIV).