Praying for others is a ministry every believer should be involved in, starting with those closest to them. Dorothy and I, for example, pray for our family every day. We have six grandchildren. We pray for each one of them on a particular day of the week and then our two daughters on Sunday.
However, I want to share a thought about the times God is calling us to pray for somebody, and it comes out of the blue, so to speak. In other words, when He lays someone on your heart that He wants you to pray for. Let me illustrate this with three stories.
AN ANGEL TO WATCH OVER YOU
This is the record of such a situation back in the summer of 2003 as recorded in the Langstaff Letter at the time: Dorothy and I were on our way to Duluth, MN, where I was to install our good friend John Halvorsen as the new Senior Pastor of Great Lakes Church. We were driving along the interstate 694 on the northern side of the Twin Cities. We were in the middle lane of three lanes of traffic, all doing 65-70 miles per hour. We had cars on both sides of us and immediately behind us, when suddenly there was some obstruction on the road in front of us. We couldn’t tell what it was. One’s normal reaction when faced with a situation like this would be to swerve to miss the object in the road. However, I had a distinct feeling that I shouldn’t do that. Even though we slowed down as much as we could, we were horrified when we crashed into a 20 to 25 foot metal ornamental fence that had fallen off a truck. We were towing a trailer, and I realized afterward that if I had swerved like the other cars around us were trying to do, who knows what might have happened. It could have caused a multiple pile up – the kind of situation that could even get you killed. As it was, we pulled over to the side of the road dragging the tangled mess of fence underneath both the car and the trailer. I couldn’t remove it by myself, so we called 911. A very helpful policeman came to our rescue, and together we were able to extract it from underneath both vehicles. The amazing thing was that it didn’t do any damage to the vehicles. It could have easily pierced the gas tank. The policeman remarked that we were very fortunate, as he had seen similar situations that resulted in much greater damage. We drove away praising the Lord.
Later we found that at the very time, a friend of ours, Jim Kuehn, was at a conference in Wales, Great Britain. He had been invited to go on a prayer drive in North Wales, including Rhyl, the town where Dorothy was born. While there, he was specifically praying for us at the time just before we were involved in the accident. He experienced intense spiritual warfare on behalf of Dorothy and was particularly praying against a spirit of death that was coming against her.
So we thank God for what we believe was His divine intervention to save us from what could have been a fatal accident. I believe when we get to heaven, we will be surprised to find out how many times God has done things like this to protect us. We are also grateful for all the people who are praying for us – we couldn’t do it without you!
PRAYER PARTNERS ARE VITAL
This is a story from Reinhard Bonnke’s book “Living a Life on Fire.” Bonnke was a great evangelist and held some of the largest evangelistic meetings in the world. Here is a story of when he could have died:
“While traveling in a remote area, I exhausted my canteen and felt myself facing dehydration. In those days, we did not carry large quantities of bottled water as we do today. I was so driven by thirst that I ignored the wisdom to always boil water before drinking. I knew better than to do that. In my travels I had already encountered the graves of many missionaries who had died from deadly black water fevers. I drank straight from a well. When I arrived home that night, the awful stomach cramps began. I knew I was in a fight for my life.
I began to hallucinate and drift in and out of consciousness. My appetite was gone, and Anni had to work to get fluids into my body. After three terrible days of delirium, I began to see a kind of vision. I saw something like a black blanket, a dark shroud floating down over me. It seemed that I would be smothered by it. Death was very near for me, I knew. Then, somehow I could see through the blanket. On the other side, I saw the face of Jesus, and a wonderful peace flooded my heart in the midst of my delirium. In the next moment I heard the voice of dear Sister Eliese Kohler praying for me. I knew that voice from the many prayer meetings I had attended in Krempe. I heard her crying out to God to spare my life. In that moment, the fever broke and began a slow and steady recovery.
As I gained strength, I wrote a letter to my father asking him to go to Sister Kohler and ask her what happened that day. The story I got back truly touched my heart. Early in the morning before the break of dawn, the Spirit of God awoke her saying, ‘Pray for Reinhard. Intercede for his life because he is dying in Africa.’ She prayed for most of the day until she felt a breakthrough, a release by the Spirit from the prayer assignment she had received from the Lord. That is when the fever broke, and I began my recovery” (Bonnke, 2009).
Undoubtedly, God called sister Kohler to pray, and it was prayer that brought the answer so that Bonnke did not die but lived to experience a great ministry.
PRAYING WITHOUT UNDERSTANDING
In Romans 8:26 (NKJV), Paul tells us that there are times when “We do not know what we should pray for as we ought.” However, if we act of what we do know the Spirit will come to our aid. Let me give you an example.
Not long after we moved to America, I was asked to go on a skiing trip with a group of people to beautiful Lake Louise in Western Canada. The arrangement was that people could go skiing during the days, and then at night, we would have a gathering when I would share a message.
The first day, together with my administrator, Lynette Maxwell, we set out to conquer the bunny hill. Both of us quickly discovered that we were not going to be skiers. In fact, one of my prayers was, “Lord get us down this bunny hill in one piece, please.” And the Lord answered my prayer.
On the morning of the last day, my daughter Beth who had taken to skiing like a duck to water asked me about going up to the top of the mountain and skiing down. I agreed she should but told her she should take someone with her.
That day I went with a group sightseeing in a van, and just about noon, I had a distinct word in my spirit “Pray for Beth.” I did not know what I was praying about, but sitting in the back of the van, separated from the others, I began to pray in the Spirit for Beth. This went on for about a half-hour or so, and then it lifted.
That night I asked Beth what was happening at the time I was praying for her. She replied that she and another girl had gone up to the top of the mountain, but a mist came over them when they got there, and they could not see where to go. As they were wondering what to do, another couple arrived, one of whom was an experienced skier who, upon seeing their plight, offered to guide them. So, Beth and her friend were able to ski down the mountain safely.
Now, I can’t prove anything, but it was at the same time when God called me to pray, and I believe, as a result, he prompted the other couple to go to the top of the mountain and in turn to guide Beth and her friend safely down the trails. Bear in mind, people can have serious, even fatal, accidents with skiing mishaps.
A CLOSING WORD
When God puts a person on your mind, it may be that you are to contact them, or maybe you need to help them somehow. However, it might also be that God wants you to pray for them. These can be special, even crucial times in that other person’s life, which can even make a difference to a person’s survival, as in the case of Reinhard Bonnke.
Let us all be sensitive to the Spirit and pick up the burden to pray. We all need prayer, powerful prayer. So let us pray.
Bonnke, R. (2009). Living a Life of Fire: An Autobiography. United States: E-R Production.