First of all, I encourage you to make petitions, prayers, intercessions, and prayers of thanks for all people. [1 Timothy 2:1 (GW)]
Walking through the farmer’s market in a nearby town, I was surprised to look over and see a bright red banner saying “Prayer Station.” Curious, I walked over and introduced myself. Manning the station were two members of a small local church. People are there every Saturday morning, summer and winter, fair weather or foul, giving friendly greetings to passers-by. If someone stops, they offer a listening ear and prayers, if so desired. Prayer stations like theirs actually started in 2001 when Youth with a Mission (YWAM) established them around New York City following the September 11th attacks.
Although there are days when no one wants to pray, fifteen people paused to ask for prayers last week. This prayer station offers more than an opportunity for prayer; it offers a starting point for the sharing of faith. It begins when people’s immediate needs are addressed in prayer and continues with their introduction to Jesus. The evangelism, however, was so low key that I had to ask the name of their church. This mission is not about building church membership but about building God’s kingdom. It is about sharing His love and making Him known. In fact, one worker confided it is the easiest missionary work she’s ever done. The best part, she added, is when people return and share their stories of answered prayers! In addition to offering prayers, they often direct the homeless, mentally ill, or abused to agencies and organizations that can provide them with much needed services.
Perhaps they were surprised when I offered a prayer of thanksgiving for them and their mission rather than asking their prayers for me. We chatted a bit more and I shared that their prayer station had provided me with another devotion idea. Before my departure, one prayer warrior offered a prayer for me asking God to make me as comfortable and bold witnessing with the spoken word as I am with the written. Since this is something about which I also pray, either she is very intuitive or the Holy Spirit guided her prayers! I’m inclined to think the latter.
“We’re a church that believes in the power of prayer,” says our pastor as he invites those in need of intercession to join with prayer warriors at the front of the church following services. Been there and done that and I do, indeed, believe in the power of prayer. While not all of us are well-suited to standing on a corner (or even at the front of the church) and praying with strangers, we are all capable of praying with family and friends. I think back to a dinner party when one of the guests (a stranger to me) asked if we’d all join in prayer for a friend in another state. I don’t recall the exact reason for our prayer but I do remember knowing that joining in prayer is what Christians should always do for their brothers and sisters. We don’t need to have an official patented “Prayer Station” to offer prayers; we can carry that station with us wherever we go.