When I’m out and about in my car and I see people walking down the street or standing at a bus stop, I’ve developed the practice of praying for these strangers. For example, if I see someone smoking at the bus stop, I pray that God will inspire and strengthen the person to quit. I make a quick assessment from what I see and I try to imagine what the person might need.
One day I was at a stoplight and a woman crossed the street in front of my car. She was wearing purple pants and appeared to be walking toward the hospital. As I was formulating my prayer for her, I laughed as I realized that I really didn’t know anything about her except that she was wearing purple pants. It seemed so funny that in spite of knowing only one thing about her, I could still intercede in prayer for her.
“Lord, help this woman today, maybe she’s walking over to the hospital because she works there. I don’t know Lord, but please minister to her in whatever she needs help with today. If she doesn’t know you Lord, please bring someone into her life who can speak your Truth to her. Bless her today, in Jesus’ Name, Amen”
I believe that it’s quite possible that I could be the ONLY person praying for my purple pants friend. Of course, I will most likely never see her again and won’t see the answer to my prayer, but I’m content knowing that I just may see her in Heaven. Wouldn’t it be marvelous if my prayer made an eternal difference for her on that one day she walked in front of my car?
I want to intercede in prayer for people, even if I don’t know them. Would God help someone without my prayer? Maybe He would anyway. But God wants us to care and when we can’t get out of the car and physically help someone, we can intercede for them.
Why does God want us to intercede for others, even if we’ll never learn the outcome or ever see the person again?
Because prayer changes us!
It certainly changes me when I drive through undesirable neighborhoods or see accidents or fire trucks. I don’t just drive past people and ignore them anymore. I’m becoming a person who cares more about others. I’m learning how to see people as special and important, even if they are just smoking a cigarette at a bus stop. I don’t simply look away and hope the stoplight turns green. I pray for the person who catches my eye, who seems to have a need.
My prayers for strangers keep me focused on what is really important. God is in control and I need to trust Him. My prayers keep me humble and hoping. They keep me from being uncaring, critical or judgmental. They help me to see people the way God sees them.
You and I may not see all of the answers when we pray for strangers on the street, but we will continue to become more like Christ as we press forward to lift them up to the Lord!