I find myself praying for people I haven’t met, because they know people I have met.
Some examples: one woman I used to work with wrote for prayer for her daughter. The daughter, in her 20’s, had come along after I worked with her mother. The mom had gotten a divorce. Now the daughter, who I never met and who recently lost her job, was suicidal. The matter was complicated for me because the mom who was asking us to pray had recently moved to another city apparently to live with a man she met years ago at school. At a Bible school.
Maybe that didn’t complicate things. It just doubled the prayer request I made note of.
Another friend I once worked with had us praying for her mom who was suffering with shingles. I had met the mom and prayed for her with great sympathy. I’ve had shingles myself. Then this friend sent a prayer request for her brother, whom I’ve never met. Still a young man, he was now in hospice care with advanced cancer. And my friend had recently decided to leave her church after a dispute with the pastor. Lots of stress all around.
One of the fellows who drops by to visit and pray with me asked for prayer for someone he works with. That co-worker is foster-parenting a couple of young children already badly damaged by life. Their father is in jail, their mother died of a drug overdose. I know none of these people. But I feel the weight in my heart, already driving me to pray for them.
There’s a popular theory about the social connections, called “degrees of separation,” possible among the seven billion people living in the world. Various experiments have suggested there are, on average, six steps between any two people on earth. You know someone, who knows someone, who knows someone. Not that you know them directly, but the connection is closer than you might expect.
Apparently God knows how close we already are and doesn’t hesitate to call us into intercession for one another. We don’t even have to meet.