I will never tire of hearing the words “I love you” in all their different contexts: from my husband of nearly 11 years; from my children as we snuggle at the end of the day; from my parents; from family and friends. They are powerful words and can change a day–or even a life–instantly.
Those aren’t the three little words I’m going to write about right now, though. I am realizing more and more the power and depth of three other little words: pray for me. Obviously the rest of this post won’t make a whole lot of sense if you are not one who prays, but maybe just out of curiosity you’ll stick this one out.
It goes without saying that I don’t want to see loved ones go through sadness or struggle. Yet, those times come to all of us sooner or later. When someone asks me to pray for him or her, there is trust. Even if the specifics are left out of the request, I know that I have been given an honor to speak up for a friend to God. Someone has trusted me enough with the details of their experience to share it with me. There is love. Especially when my dear husband asks me to pray for him in the midst of a tough day, I can hear his unspoken words: “Because of our love, we are in this together, and even though you’re not right here with me, we can go together to God to gain wisdom, comfort, and strength.” There is a beautiful humility in asking for prayer–such a question speaks to our vulnerability and inability to figure everything out on our own. My husband again comes to mind, as he is in a career that demands a tough exterior and the ability to think quickly. We both know he has the skills and gifts to do his job very well, but we also know that what he accomplishes is through the grace of our God. Prayer also inspires unity. When we pray for one another, and also with one another, we are essentially standing before God saying that we agree on a need and we are asking for it together. And wonderfully, when we get to pray for a loved one, there is hope. We might not see an answer or a direction immediately when we pray, but just knowing that someone else is interceding on our behalf removes the desperation from our circumstances. When we trust in an all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful God, and base our prayers on those beliefs, we can’t help but feel hopeful.
One of the most recent times my husband asked me to pray for him, he sent me a quick text and just said, “pray for me.” He didn’t have time to explain the details or his feelings. As I prayed for him silently over the course of the afternoon, I thought about all the possibilities, all the parts of his day that most often challenge him. Though I’ve never actually seen him in action at work, he has told me volumes over the years that I know enough about his daily experiences. As I prayed, I also gave thanks that time has grown our trust, love, humility, and unity with each other. The busyness of our lives can be a great threat to a healthy relationship. The fact that we are still deeply entwined in the details of each other’s lives is largely thanks to the practice of praying for and with each other. I plan never to stop.