praying from afar

One of our centre’s regular pray-ers – Ailsa Cummins – is often to be found praying with us remotely as well as in person. A busy mum, supply science teacher and volunteer youth-worker with a beautiful heart for both our brilliant God and his broken but precious world, Ailsa’s insights are always treasures that help us press into God more. This blog is no exception:

God so loved the world
Recently I’ve heard myself saying ‘I’ll be praying from afar’ to people a lot. 

I started to think about what I mean when I make a comment like that and why I’m saying it. Is there another phrase that would make my intentions clearer to the person I am invariably comforting or trying to support through prayer?

At the Sanctuary more often than not we are praying for situations that are far removed from our surroundings or circumstances.

Nevertheless as we pray for global issues from afar our hearts are frequently breaking over the issues or individuals we pray for.

Can anything other than our heart for prayer and the people in these particular circumstance draw us any closer to those situations?

Here is a list of some of the things that I’ve prayed for in the last few months:

My mums hip replacement; my church’s development plans; men throughout the whole of the UK; the new government; Europe; shooting of tourists in Tunisia; persecuted Christians across the world; my uncle’s health; my husband’s faith; a friend in the midst of a divorce….

The scope is endless and in most of these situations I have been far removed physically. And yet they have all pushed my heart to cry out to God.

Last Monday at the Sanctuary, we prayed with a visiting Bishop from Uganda, lifting his country and his work in Matugga to God together. We were with him, but as usual far from his context.

But as we prayed we all held hands and I realised with a new level of conviction what praying from afar really means to me.

When we were holding hands I was warm and secure and felt comfortable. As I prayed, I was physically connected as well as connected by the Spirit through prayer. And then of course, afterwards, once we let go of each others’ hands, my own hands felt colder again. The warmth and the feeling of unity had gone.

And then I remembered a news report we had watched together in the same space a week before.

It was filmed in the aftermath of the shootings in Charleston USA. A crowd had gathered outside the church whilst the congregation gathered for the first time since the incident. And a woman who was interviewed said she wanted the people in the church to know she and others were for them – that they were with them during their grief and trauma. How powerful.

To ‘hold hands ‘ in support of others – however far away or close by they might be – is what connecting through prayer is all about.

In 1 Corinthians 12:26 Paul tells us if one part of the body of Christ hurts we all hurt and if one part rejoices we all rejoice. Throughout the world prayer enables us to suffer and cry alongside other peoples who are praying for difficult situations. And it also helps us celebrate when we see a breakthrough.

And in Romans 8:22-23 we are reminded that the whole of nature is groaning (as in pain) as we wait for the coming of the Lord. How amazingly encouraging to know creation itself groans with us as we await the coming of his kingdom!

But if that wasn’t enough for us to feel united in prayer from afar – John 17:20 shows Jesus’ heart of prayer for every disciple throughout history and Romans 8:34 reassures us that he is interceding for each one of us from heaven.

After thinking all this through I am newly assured that praying from afar – for people, situations, nation’s and governments – is a powerful and biblical thing to do.

Whatever difficult situation you are praying for in whatever part of the world, you can know, in complete confidence, that others are standing with you – praying from afar, groaning with you, pleading for God’s Kingdom to come and his will to be done in that particular circumstance.

God is pulling our hearts together towards what is on his own – and as we become bolder in the fruit of this knowledge we will only pray from afar more frequently and with more confidence.

Here at the sanctuary we will continue stand with you – holding hands through prayer- as we raise our concerns and heart-break to the Lord.

And together with you, we know we will continue to see more and more of God’s hand blessing and transformation on these situations that break our hearts.

So let’s hold hand’s across nations, raise issues across borders and know even as we pray for global issues half a world away – we are as close as it’s possible to be in the Spirit.

We are one in Christ; one in heart; and one united prayer from afar.

Comments are closed.