I keep a prayer journal. When friends ask me to pray for them or for someone else, I write a name and the need, if I know it. Sometimes I only know that someone needs me to intercede on their behalf. God knows the need and it’s not necessary for me to know it in order to offer my support through prayer.
I did something last week that the Lord has been urging me to do for quite a while: choose and day, go to church, and kneel at the altar to pray for people, our nation, and our world. I asked my friends, family, and followers on Facebook to send me their prayer requests. (I have a companion page for this blog there: “Loved by the King” I started this page because I try to post here on WordPress two to three times a week. I wanted a place that I could share a short daily devotional, so I started a community page on Facebook just for that. Please visit me there and give me a “Like.”) I chose Friday, October 4, 2013, to be my very first “Friday at the Altar.”
I began writing these names and requests on paper. I prayed for each one as the requests came in. Then on Friday, I went to my church and laid all the pages of requests on our altar at 11:00 a.m. Before I began to pray, I read aloud a portion of scripture that the Lord gave to me from the book of Daniel, chapter three. (You can read the entire chapter here.)
These were my focal verses:
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered the king, “Nebuchadnezzar, we don’t need to explain these things to you. If you throw us into the hot furnace, the God we serve can save us. And if he wants to, he can save us from your power. But even if God does not save us, we want you to know, King, that we refuse to serve your gods. We will not worship the gold idol you have set up.” (Daniel 3:16-18, Easy-to-Read Version — emphasis mine)
I chose to read the verses from a Bible I keep in my office at the Culbreth Memorial UMC. It’s a Today’s English Version Bible donated by the family of a woman who was a faithful member of our congregation for many years before her death. As I read from her Bible, I could feel a distinct energy in the sanctuary — an air of expectancy. When I knelt at the altar and read the names on my pieces of paper aloud, the energy increased. (The hairs on my neck and arms actually stood up! I call them “God-bumps.”)
After I prayed aloud, I did something that I don’t do enough — I sat in silence and listened. God spoke to me in that still, small voice of His that I sometimes miss in the hustle and bustle of my life and all the things I think are important, but really aren’t. In those moments, God dealt with me about some situations in my own life. I was determined to stay on my knees until God released me from the moment. When I felt that release, I stood and sang a short little song that I hadn’t thought of in years. I’ll bet some of you know it.
Hear our prayer, o Lord. Hear our prayer, o Lord.
Incline thine ear to us and grant us Thy peace. Amen.
I gathered my papers and went back to work in the office. If you don’t believe in signs from God, then the rest of this post will probably not mean much to you. I believe that God gives us signs that affirm His approval or disapproval of the things we do. I believe that He gives us little nudges to encourage us. A friend of mine says there is no such thing as “coincidences” — they’re all “God-incidences.” I agree.
I don’t even remember why I looked, but in the front of the TEV Bible I had used was a hand-written message:
“Take care of the things that are important to God and God will take care of the things that are important to you.”
I have a stash of sources I use for my daily devotionals. On Thursdays and Fridays when I’m working at the church, I use “The Upper Room,” a publication of the United Methodist Church. I turned to the devotional for Friday, October 4. The pages were stuck together with static electricity and before I could get to Friday’s devotion, I noticed that the scripture for Wednesday’s devotional (October 2) was the same scripture that I just read in the sanctuary.
“God-bumps” on top of “God-bumps.”
I cannot tell you what a privilege it was to pray for my family and friends. What was even more intense for me was the fact that friends-I-haven’t-met-yet (people that follow me here, receive my blog by email, or follow me on Facebook) entrusted their requests to me.
Image Source: www.msd.org.au/prayer
My prayer request for all of them was this: whether or not their prayer requests were met with their desired answers, I asked that God give them His presence and assurance that He knows best. To be like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego – to say “even if,” I will still worship and trust You.
Image Source: www.robparkersblog.com
If you would like me to add your name to my “Friday at the Altar” list, leave me a comment. You can tell me your specific request or you can say that you have an unspoken request. If you just need prayer in general, simply leave your name.
I don’t do this for acclaim. I don’t do this so that people will look at me and say, “That Sandy Rosser, she’s doing the Lord’s work.” I don’t do this for any other reason that to be a servant. I love God and He said for me to love others; to serve them daily because that’s how I show His love.
Image Source: www.usf,edu/clipart
My request to you: wherever you are on Fridays at 11:00 a.m., take a moment and offer up a prayer. You might not be with me in person, but you can be with me in the Holy Spirit.
And if you happen to live in Fayetteville, North Carolina or the surrounding area, I would consider it an honor if you’d join me in person on Fridays. I believe in the power of prayer. My God is in control and He can do anything.
I chose “Let Them See You” as my Monday Music song. It says exactly what I want my life to express — on Fridays, and all the days in between.
Other than those noted, all image sources are mine.
“Let Them See You” (Colton Dixon)