(Dennis Jones is a long-time intercessory leader in the Toronto area. He and his late beloved wife Elizabeth have invested their lives in praying for God’s work in that region and around the world. Here at NHOP we are deeply indebted to them for their encouragement and tangible help in so many ways. Dennis continues to publish a monthly prayer guide for his “Kneeling Army”. ) This is the editorial from the most recent edition.
WHO IS MY NEIGHBOUR
As intercessors one of our callings is to pray for others, but who are the others. Rather like the young lawyer who after trying to test Jesus with a theological question was cornered into answering the question himself. To justify himself he asked “Who is my neighbour.”
This is a question that is not as easy to answer as it appears at first sight. Are we supposed to pray for the guy next door or the one across the street? Is it the person who sits next to us in church or is it someone in the town, my region, province, state or nation? The answer is of course; our neighbour can be found in any of the above and beyond.
Where do we begin and where do we end? We cannot pray the world round. Who should we pray for and who not to pray for? Surely we should be praying for those in need. That is any need that comes to our attention. But, there are so many different needs. There are physical, financial, emotional and spiritual needs among many others. So the question arises again; “Where do we begin and where do we end?”
Some times it is easier for us just to bundle them all into groups. Thus it is easy to pray for the poor, the homeless, the hungry, the lost, and the prodigals. Not that we shouldn’t pray for all of these but this shot gun approach to prayer can be an easy-out rather than to focus on specific cases that come to our notice. When specific needs do come before us we will often assess them from our point of view. There is an old adage that says “Who we are determines what we see and what we see, will determine what we do.
Therefore we need to watch ourselves for our likes and dislikes, our prejudices and other character flaws that make up who we are so that we can clearly see which neighbour God is calling us to hold up to him in prayer. God calls us to prayer because it is our prayer that releases His power to perform His will. It may be it is that guy across the street that is in our eyes completely unlovable and has been down right rude to us but now he faces cancer or has lost a loved one. Somehow we have to bring ourselves to see him as God sees him and hold him up in prayer.
There are neighbours whom we will see only fleetingly or may not see at all. Then what is called for, is what I call arrow prayers. An ambulance flies by with lights flashing and sirens wailing. We need to pray for that driver, the para-medics and the sick or injured person. Then there is that old man you pass on the street in a wheelchair and his care-giver pushing him. These are events we see every day and we need to be alert to God’s prompting.
I have to admit that for my regular prayer time I have a list of persons I pray for. At my age I am afraid names escape me. So, lists allow me to pray for the neighbours in my life who are in need of prayer. These include the names of the sick and the unsaved among my acquaintances. It is my opinion and, I have said this before, the anonymous prayer is one of the most precious gifts that can be given and demonstrates our love for our neighbour. Then there is the joy of seeing God’s hand at work in their lives.
Dennis Jones Kneeling Army Coodinator.