A Unicyclical On Prayer.

I am not the Pope. Therefore, I do not get to issue Encyclicals for you to read. I’m more of a one-wheel sort of stooge. So you get Unicyclicals. I just made up a word. Live with it. Kind of like this post: it may or may not trip your trigger, but it will be short and to the point.

Why do we pray? Well, in … never mind. I’m not going to give you some phony scriptural reference I’d have to look up anyway. I know the Bible has a lot to say about how we pray and why we pray. I read it and have heard about it for years. (Not the whole book, just the really good parts. I’m still working on staying awake during some genealogical stuff in the early chapters. Not to criticize, but there is a lot of backstory – I digress.)

We pray because we need God’s help or we want to thank Him. We pray because someone or something (like a relationship) is broken and we need His help in fixing the damage done. We pray for a lot of reasons.

We often forget the one I find most important in my life: Love.

Jesus sent us out to love our fellow man as we love ourselves and as He loves us. (*In Hollywood and Washington there is virtually no difference between the self and God if you were to take a poll. Like the old joke goes, what’s the difference between God and -fill in the blank? God doesn’t think He’s a Senator.) Prayer is such a special and important part of that love and it is often overlooked.

How can that be? Most Christians are a bit reluctant about praying over someone in public. God has, fortunately, blessed me with being a bull-headed follower who will drop to his knees in prayer, or ask to hold hands upon demand. I even do that churchy thing where you hold your hand out, palm toward the recipient, and pray out loud with your eyes closed. If you really get me in a lather I’ll break out the anointing oil on my key ring and give you a slick on the forehead.

So what. Just showing off what a Ned Flanders I am, correct? Perhaps this will clarify:

No. I really mean to do good with this prayer. Here’s how:

1. God listens when we pray. He may not give us what we’re asking for, but He’s listening.

2. By praying over a troubled soul we show that we accord them the courtesy of listening. Our intercessory prayer means that we actually shut our mouth long enough to hear them speak their heart. It also means that we are willing to go out on a limb and pray over the guard at the parking ramp who looks troubled. Or over the waitress who seems ready to burst into tears. Or the friend we see from time to time who is so low that God is but a distant concept.

We step into His shoes, and act as His emissary as He commanded us to do.

I will probably be disciplined by some authority some day for praying over people. I have only one boss – He’s cool with it and has agreed to spend eternity working out the rewards and punishments based on my behavior. I’m willing to take that risk.

I’m asking that you do the same. Humble yourself to listen, not talk. Share from your soul with those in need. Pray over them. If you’re a Missionary Baptist (like me) try to keep the prayer under 27 minutes. Otherwise God’ll give you a bow tie and put you up in front of the congregation next week. I don’t have a bow tie. I keep it simple. (*For my Deacon friends, just kidding – you guys are amazing. I just run out of words in about two minutes.)

Take that leap of faith and help someone in need know that God is listening – He sent your ears, and your tongue, to let them know they matter to Him.

It’s a big job, but we all gotta do it.

(I had a great rant to go up instead of this, but it can wait. Praying over those in need simply won’t. Get busy!)

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