The Prayer Pot

Inspired by my daughter Erin’s prayer box, I decided I would write down names and put them in a container to pull out and pray over, so I created a list of people as they came to my mind. I didn’t know what to use as my prayer box or basket so that paper simply got buried in a pile of papers on my counter. That pile was then transferred to a bigger pile on my dresser when I was “tidying up” one day.  Weeks later while sorting through some of those piles I came across the paper of names, so I typed and printed them, and cut them up into little strips. I settled on putting them in a little blue pot that I purchased to grow herbs this summer (which I also never did). And even then the little blue pot filled with names sat on top of my kitchen hutch for a few more weeks. Weeks in which I never dipped my hand into the pot – not pulling even one name.

Then one day I knew it was time to get this new way of praying  for others off the ground. One of the very first names I pulled happened to be the name of the person I love more than anyone. We had had a tough weekend and I wasn’t feeling so loving and gracious, so of course God would literally hand me his name. Here is how his name was handed to me ~ I had pulled two names that were stuck together and while I tried to rub them apart between my fingers, another name seemed to leap from the pot and land on the hutch. Interested and slightly amused, I dropped the two stuck names back in the pot and thought ‘This must be the person I am to pray for.’ It turned out to be my husband’s name. ‘Of course.’ I thought to myself. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. So I dropped my thoughts and ways and prayed for the man God gifted to me as my husband.

The next afternoon I was washing dishes and thinking of my sister-in-law. I was specifically thinking that I should be praying more for her kids. I prayed for them in that moment over the sink, and the next morning I ‘just happened’ to pull the slip with their three names on it. God was getting my attention. I pulled the name of my best friend’s daughter who had recently left for college, then I pulled that friend’s name the next day. Early one morning I pulled my youngest daughter’s name and when she came home from school said she had needed prayer so badly that day; she was amazed to discover I had pulled her name.

On and on it goes – I could tell so many stories of the names I have pulled.

Today was the one that took my breath away though. There is a mom I have never met, but who I think of often and pray for constantly. After months of neglecting the prompting that I believe God put in my heart to reach out to her, on Friday I finally sent her something in the mail. I have been whispering prayers all along the way that this is from God, that my reaching out is not intrusive, that I have perceived this nudging accurately, that it is of God, and not of me.

This morning it was her name I pulled from my prayer pot.
I have been at peace since, all doubts erased.

This prayer pot has been one of the most exciting prayer endeavors I have ever participated in ~I am eager each morning to see who I am to pray for.  I believe God has given me enough of a glimpse to understand that whomever I pull from that prayer pot, there is a reason to be engaged in prayer on behalf of that person (As if I had forgotten how much it matters to pray for others!) If I never get another glimpse of the intentionality that seems to be behind the placing of the names in my hand each morning, I have been reminded that praying for others really matters, and I will hold it as an honor to pray for others in this way that might seem so random, but clearly is not.

Thanks to my daughter for leading the way…

Ephesians 6:18 ~ And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
Another gift in all of this is that despite my many shortcomings, delays, piles and whatnot, God still is using me. Broken and kinda messy, but still useful and loved.

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