“The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results.”
James 5:16b (NLT)

Several things have happened recently that have me thinking about those who have no one praying for them. I think they’re all around us and we just don’t see them. We are often so caught up in our own lives and our own challenges that we don’t look into the faces of those around us, and we notice their actions only when those actions interrupt the peaceful flow of our lives. The person walking or driving haphazardly in front of us, the rude store cashier and the angry customer grab our attention, but unless we’ve allowed God to transform our natural reaction, we probably become frustrated, annoyed and/or angry ourselves.

I’ve known for quite awhile that God allows (even sends) these people to cross my path to help transform me into the likeness of His Son – to help sand off my many rough edges. What rough edges you ask? Well, in these examples, it might be my pride (in my own abilities or my superior kindness), my impatience and my lack of love. Ouch! That’s not a pretty list. (Can kindness really be superior when my attitude is  “I’m kinder than that person?”) But God is working on transforming them and we’re seeing some improvement. 🙂

It occurs to me lately, however, that these same people may be the way they are, in part, because they have no one praying for them. The angry customer may be experiencing exceedingly difficult circumstances in his or her life, and he may be facing them totally alone. The person operating haphazardly may be in a mind trap of confusion with no one praying for clarity and wisdom.

How often do you pray for those around you? I don’t mean praying for your spouse and your children, your pastor and brothers and sisters in Christ, your family and others. I don’t even mean praying for the lost in general or specific people who need Christ. I mean praying for people you don’t know and know nothing about other than they seem to lack a joy of the Lord. It is these people – those that no one else has asked you to pray for – who may have no one praying for them. I’m guessing the answer is “not very often.” I know I don’t pray for those around me nearly as often as I should.

The truth that has gripped my heart is that perhaps NO ONE is praying for some of these people. If they grew up in a non-Christian or prayerless home, quite possibly – perhaps even probably – they aren’t on anyone’s prayer list. Or maybe they grew up in a Christian, praying home, but they have gone so far afield that their family has grown weary of praying for them. They have fallen off the prayer lists of those who once had hoped for their salvation.

I have an assignment and a challenge for us.

The Assignment
Over the next couple of days ask God to point someone out who needs your prayers. Then commit to pray for that person regularly. What a privilege to be the only person praying for someone – you may well be the key component that causes that person to turn toward the Lord.!

The Challenge
Commit to pray for each person you see tomorrow. As you sit in your car at a stop light, look at the person in the car opposite you and pray for them. As you walk through a store, pray for each person you pass and each person who serves you. Actively look for opportunities to pray for people. You will find yourself quite tired from the mental alertness that is required for such diligent praying. The first time I did this, I was shocked to realize how often I allow my mind to zone out or focus on things that were not profitable.

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