Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Praying For Strangers

A story caught my eye that week that has not only pulled on my heart strings, but has also made me questioned some of my core beliefs.  But above all, this story has reminded how importain it is to pray for others; even for those we don't know.
Brittany Maynard is a 29 year old recently married woman in Oregon.  Right after their wedding, she found out she had terminal brain cancer.  She has decided to end her on November 1st.
Now, while I believe suicide is wrong, I am compassionate of the reason she has chosen to end her life: she's facing a very harsh and painful death.  She also wants to make it easier for her family.  I do respect her decision, I just don't know if I agree with it.
However I can pray for her.    I can pray for her healing, for peace, for comfort and understanding for her family and friends.  I don't have to know or even to agree with her to pray for her.  Some people think that to pray for someone is  to say that you agree with them.  I say sometimes this is true, while other times this can't be further from the truth.  If we are praying for someone's salvation we are obviously not in agreement with them if they believe there is no God.  Sometimes the best prayer for others; strangers or not; is "May God's will be done."  Isaiah 55:8 says "'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.'"  It can be very hard to pray  for God's will to be done because no one but God truly knows His will.  So therefore, we can pray for others even those we don't agree with them.
I can remember when I was little, my mama used to tell me to "people  watch" to cure boredom whenever we were out having to wait.  This is not only a great source of entertainment, but it's also a great opportunity to build you prayer list: we can prayer for the harried clerk at the local supermarket who's been yelled by many customers even though she's not to blame for the long line in her lane.  We can pray for the mother in the park who's trying to gather up her kids to go home and take a nap even though they don't want to go.  We can pray for the businessman  who is sitting alone in the food court at lunchtime; massaging his temple with one hand and trying to balance his check book with the other: Working 18 hours a day, 6 days a week is causing nothing but migraine headaches and only a few more dollars to work with when deciding what bills to pay first.
The truth is everyone has a story.  The chance that we'll ever know a stranger's story is slim to none, but it doesn't take away the importance of their story.  When we pray for them, we are lifting them up to God and pleading for Him to have mercy for them.  We may be the only person that will ever pray for them.  Sad, but true.  
Pray for strangers, and remember,  "Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have showed hospitality to angels without knowing it." Hebrews 13:2

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