Sun., Jan. 22, 2017
Ephesians 6:18 – Never stop praying, especially for others. Always pray by the power of the Spirit. Stay alert and keep praying for God’s people.
The basket has been sitting on a table in my office for several weeks now. Patiently waiting for me. We’re leaving Monday for vacation/Sabbath time. I wanted the basket empty and dealt with before we leave. Today is the day I must deal with it.
What’s in the basket? Our 2016 Christmas cards. Some envelopes. The letters others carefully crafted and sent out at Christmas time.
Why haven’t I tossed them in the garage or filed them in a box? I wanted to take some extra time with these cards. A few years ago, I read about a pastor who, after the holidays, prays over every single card he and his wife receive at Christmas time. He prays for the family who sent the card. I know the congregation he serves is WAY bigger than the two faith communities I serve. Yet, I was inspired by his dedication to this ministry and know this is something I want to replicate.
This afternoon, I took a couple hours with our Christmas cards. Quite honestly, when they arrive, I tend to breeze through them quickly. I love hearing the stories and reading the information. But there is always so much going on, especially close to Christmas. I find that I read the letters more carefully after Christmas. This also gives me an opportunity to pray over every card and pray for every family. This is how I spent a chunk of my Sunday afternoon.
If you follow professional football and are anywhere near Wisconsin, you know our beloved Packers were whooped by the Atlanta Falcons this afternoon. Yes, sometimes, I had the game on. Other times, I quietly placed my hand on each card individually and prayed over it. Why is this important? We are to never stop praying for others. If I receive a Christmas card from another family, doesn’t this family mean enough to me that I should pray for them?
As I went through the cards, I found myself sorting them. I had a pile of folks I want to follow-up with after we get back from vacation. It might be awhile before I get to all of those. Going through the cards inspired me to send out a few cards today: a person who fell on the ice and bruised her shoulder; the widower whose husband passed away on Christmas Eve; friends we don’t see enough and promise to see again soon.
Maybe your Christmas cards hit the garbage long time ago. It’s OK. Just think of a couple families you could lift up today in prayer. Whether they know you are praying for them today is irrelevant. God knows.
Lord God – You know everything that is going on in our lives. You are also keenly aware of what specifically is happening in our friend’s lives. Nonetheless, we are encouraged, even mandated, to pray for one another. Why? Because it fills your hearth with joy. Place it upon my heart a family to pray for today, tomorrow, the next day. Amen.
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