The Ministry of Prayer

prayer hands with manWhen we were being trained for FAITH [an evangelistic outreach ministry], we were taught to ask for permission to pray on any visit. The basic premise is that everyone covets prayer. I’ve known people to get offended when they find out that someone is praying for them but you will never offend me by praying for me so pray all you want. I do believe that 95% of the folks we deal with here in the Bible Belt will allow us to pray for them and I know that it is a great ministry. I do remember one FAITH visit and I am willing to wager that the two people with me have not forgotten it either where I ask for permission to share the FAITH outline… He said, ” I don’t believe in God and I don’t believe in heaven or hell. You are welcome to visit me anytime you like and I will talk about anything you want to talk about other than religion. I am not interested in anything you have to say of the subject.” I thanked him for letting us come in and visit and told him that we would be leaving, then as I had been trained to do, I said, “Could we pray for you before we go?” He said, “No, if I don’t believe in God, why would I believe in prayer. I do not want you praying for me.” I said, “That’s fine, we’ll save it for later.” We did, we prayed for him as soon as we got in the car. As far as I know, he has never changed his opinion and this happened more than a decade ago.
The man above is a rare exception in these parts. The overwhelming majority of people who I come into contact with are thankful when we offer to pray. I have been a little negligent in this matter in the past. I have operated more on feelings than convictions.  I have had some experiences recently that have changed the way I think. From this point on when I make a visit into a room, nursing home or hospital; I am going to ask for permission to pray. It is a ministry, a much-needed ministry and I want to be more proficient in this ministry of intercession.

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