My bishop had pointed out that prayer and intercession were activities still available to those who are home bound or under limits and boundaries. Melanie and I have taken his comment as confirmation of what we can do while my season of recovery continues.
But last night when we took up the request list from our church prayer team I soon felt overwhelmed. Perhaps it was because I’m in such damaged condition myself just now. It was like trying to pick up a simple object with fingers that were already cut or bruised. The pain was magnified way beyond the normal limits. Half way through the list I had to ask Melanie to stop reading it to me. The awareness of what it meant to be weakened, stuck in a hospital bed, all control of your body lost or crippled, was too vivid. The long list of names of loved ones, plus all the additional names of those I didn’t know but whose suffering I found easy to imagine — it was too much for me. “Lord, here’s another… and another… and another…”
I didn’t doubt that God was hearing our cries for help. But I wasn’t seeing any instant responses or healing miracles in my own condition and I knew people were praying for me. (And please don’t stop after reading my blog today!) I felt myself wavering at the task of steadfastly carrying out any assignment to pray for the many others suffering in even worse condition than mine.
One conclusion I’ve come to is that intercessory prayer is a work for those with strong faith. I am not certain it is a prayer battle to enter casually while you yourself are under attack (although when are we not?). I suspect that it is a work that comes upon specific assignment from the Lord. There are half a dozen or so names that I think are specific intercession assignments for me. And I’ve heard some of our friends tell us they feel that way about praying for us. (Thank you, and thank you, Jesus, for making those assignments.) Jesus will never ask us to do more than he enables us to do. And I believe Jesus spreads the assignments around. Let us each be faithful to whatever our personal assignment of intercessory prayer may be.
Lord, may I be as faithful to intercede for others as I am glad to receive the intercessory prayer of others. Have mercy, Lord. Hear our prayers. And may your Name be glorified in the ways You answer them.