Several years ago, I went to a prison to preach one Easter Sunday Morning. I was covering for the state chaplain who could not make it that day. This was my first time going to this prison. I had a message prepared and was looking forward to meeting the men that would come to the service.
The call of God is never dependent on the abilities of man, but only his willingness to serve. “For if there is first a willing mind, it is accepted according to what one has, and not according to what he does not have” (2 Corinthians 8:12 NKJV).
When I went to check-in at the gate and get the keys to the chapel, the officers let me know the prison was shut down due to some incidences earlier that morning. But they told me to go ahead and walk the tiers. I had no idea what they were talking about. They sent me out into the locked-down prison.
Be the one that God can use to build His kingdom. “The Lord wants to use you for special purposes, so make yourself clean from all evil. Then you will be holy, and the Master can use you. You will be ready for any good work” (2 Timothy 2:21 ERV).
I headed out to one of the units. I checked in with the officer on the first floor, and he pointed me to the first tier that I would start at. I was supposed to walk down the tiers, which are hallways and go from cell to cell. I had not done this before and was not quite sure what to do. So I walked up to the first cell and asked the two men who were there, “can I pray for you?”
If you really want to change someone, pray for them. “Epaphras, who is one of you, a bondservant of Christ, greets you, always laboring fervently for you in prayers, that you may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God” (Colossians 4:12 NKJV).
While we pray that God would change someone else’s heart, He is busy changing ours. “…pray and ask God for everything you need…And God’s peace will keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus…” (Philippians 4:6-7 ICB).
People need prayer so much. So many are suffering, in prison or not, with whatever they are going through. Many of them are hurting so much and don’t have anywhere to turn. They are just waiting for somebody like you, that knows God, that can pray for them. There is not one soul you pass by that does not need prayer.
If you only pray for yourself, then that says much about you. How off can we be, that even in our prayers to God we could be so selfish? “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men” (1 Timothy 2:1 NKJV).
Let it be you that is the one that God finds standing in the gap for your family, for your friends, for your Church, for your city, for your nation. Let it be you that stands in the gap and changes the course of history. The Lord said, “So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one” (Ezekiel 22:30 NKJV).
I spent several hours going cell to cell praying for the men. At every cell, I would stop and ask, “Can I pray for you?” There were prayer requests I received that would break your heart. There is so much prayer that is needed, and we need more prayer warriors that are willing to pray for others. Consider your prayer for someone might be the only prayer they receive.
We can never pray for anything too great or too small, for Christ is Lord over all. “For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible… All things were created through Him and for Him” (Colossians 1:16 NKJV).
I don’t need to prove my prayers can bring healing, but only have faith that His power can. “If you have faith when you pray for sick people, they will get well. The Lord will heal them, and if they have sinned, he will forgive them.” (James 5:15 CEV).
When we pray with confidence for others, it stirs up their faith and it gives them hope. We need to pray believing that the Lord will work through our prayers. We don’t have to carry the burden in what others need because He does the heavy lifting, and all we have to do is believe.
The proof of your faith is found in the confidence of your prayers. “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us” (1 John 5:14 NKJV).
Pray to His limits, not yours. “Behold, I am the Lord, the God of all flesh. Is there anything too hard for Me?” (Jeremiah 32:27 NKJV).
We think people pray, but many do not. We know all people can go to God, but many do not think they can. We think some are too far gone for God to help, but with God, nothing is impossible. Many will reject our offer to pray, but pray for them anyway.
We are called to serve. We are called to pray. Wherever God has you, pray for those around you. Be the one who stands in the gap and contends for others before God. Be the one who compassionately says to others, “Can I pray for you?”
Blessings to you,