Verse: Ephesians 6:18-20
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people. 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.
I’ve always had a problem with sportsball players praying before games, at least when they’re praying to win. What happens when a Christian on each team is praying for a victory? Should that result in a supernatural tie? What happens if three people pray on one side and two people pray on the other? What happens if two opponents pray, but one prays for one minute and the other prays for one minute ten seconds. Right, prayer doesn’t actually work that way; we don’t think. It would be easier, maybe, if it did – if we had the formulas and recipes and secret codes for praying? The best we have, is the Hint Book (10 points if you get THAT reference), what Jesus said and what Paul and the others wrote down.
Paul is urging to pray all the time, for just about everything. He probably wasn’t thinking about sports, but he was probably thinking about other near-meaningless things. God DOES care about what you care about. My son is currently emotionally working through the disappearance of [spoilers!] at the end of Season 15 of Ninjago. They’re his favorite character, currently. I knew it was coming, so my heart’s been aching for him all through the lead up. I care about it because I care about him. The reminder I really need here is that he doesn’t mind hearing our requests.
And while you’re praying for yourself, keep your eyes open and pray for people you see. Pray for the safety of our barista community who risk it all to keep us properly caffeinated. Pray for the person who cuts you off, or who passes you on a double yellow – that they will get where they need to get to in such a hurry, safely. Pray that they will feel less stressed and that their life will become easier. Pray for that person you just saw mega-sneeze into their mask. Allergy season and masks are a double-edged sword. We’re less susceptible to pollen, but when we sneeze – we’re going to be living with that in our mask for awhile. Pray for your church’s tech team, as they try to accomplish nigh impossible tasks for their pastor, while the most rudimentary “features” in streaming software randomly reset themselves.
Oh, and Paul’s in jail. He had time to settle down and write Ephesians, because he was in jail. Despite your feelings on conditions in prisons today, I think we can all agree that 1st century prison conditions weren’t great. He still has his head on straight, though – his focus is on being an ambassador, a witness, and he wants to spread the message fearlessly. He is afraid – you don’t ask for prayer to be fearless if you’re already fearless. Paul gets arrested multiple times. I think 2 Timothy 4:13 strikes one of the hardest chords with me – he’s in prison with a fate uncertain and he asks Timothy to bring him his coat, because he left it at someone’s house before he got arrested. God cares about the big things too.
God, be with me in the day to day. Be with me in the big challenges that worry me at night. Be with me in the small things, help me find time to mow my lawn. Be with the many people around me that I know are struggling. Walk with them through anxiety, through depression, through anger, and through fear. Amen.
Author: Chris Simmons