November 18, 2005

Around This Table

1546 page19 caphe Bible brings comfort and assurance in our times of need. Statements such as ?Carry each other?s burdens? (Gal. 6:2),* ?Pray for each other so that you may be healed? (James 5:16), and ?In everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God? (Phil. 4:6) encourage us to care about one another through prayer.

The Adventist Review magazine and web site invite its readers to send in prayer requests and share their needs. The staff meets almost every Wednesday morning to present them to God in group prayer.

The Method
Requests come in from all over the world, mostly by e-mail, but also by fax and U.S. mail. They arrive every day; one time 23 came in on a single day! The requests cover a wide range: requests for healing of various types of illnesses, solutions for financial problems, help in marital situations, aid in finding a job, concerns for friends and loved ones who are not walking with Christ, for evangelism and building projects, and spiritual growth for individuals as well as for the church.

1546 page19The requests are brought to staff meetings, where each request is read aloud by a staff member before it is mentioned in prayer. Each one is lovingly remembered in a confidential manner.

The written requests are then given to a prayer coordinator who responds to each person in writing. Most of the correspondents are answered by e-mail, although a number receive a typed letter via U.S. mail. I acknowledge the receipt of the request, assure the individual that prayer was offered on a given date, and send a message of encouragement. I sometimes include a Bible text for scriptural support.

And responses come back! Many write to thank the staff for the fact that their situation was remembered on a personal basis. We receive letters telling of answered prayers. Updates arrive, perhaps months or years after the original request, telling how God has worked out circumstances on behalf of the one who made the original request.

It?s touching to receive messages promising prayer for the staff; many tell us that they join the staff in praying for others on Wednesday mornings.

Blessed by the Ties
One day while driving I was suddenly struck by the thought that people I will never meet on earth are praying for me. And I pray for people I will never meet, as though they are my personal friends. What a blessing! What power there is in prayer! What an assurance and comfort to be part of a worldwide circle of prayer. How we look forward to the earth made new, where we will meet one another and be together forevermore.

Many times I?ve claimed this promise. May it be a source of inspiration and encouragement to you as you nurture your personal prayer life: ?May he [God] give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed. We will shout for joy when you are victorious and will lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the Lord grant all your requests? (Ps. 20:4, 5).

*Bible texts in this article are quoted from the New International Version.

Marilyn Petersen is a volunteer who corresponds with the many people who send prayer requests to the Adventist Review.