Will you pray for us?
Then, teaching them more about prayer, he used this story: “Suppose you went to a friend’s house at midnight, wanting to borrow three loaves of bread. You say to him, ‘A friend of mine has just arrived for a visit, and I have nothing for him to eat.’ And suppose he calls out from his bedroom, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is locked for the night, and my family and I are all in bed. I can’t help you.’ But I tell you this—though he won’t do it for friendship’s sake, if you keep knocking long enough, he will get up and give you whatever you need because of your shameless persistence.” — Luke 11:5-8 (NLT)
A dear friend and I stooped over the white gleaming bones of an elk. It was the fourth kill we had observed in our 20 minute descent from the truck to a pristine, wild river in Colorado. The river (unnamed) bordered a huge tract of BLM land and an even larger tract of private property. It was an untraveled river that was arduous to get to, dangerous to descend, and too small a river for heavy traffic. It was perfect. But as we knelt to examine the teeth marks in the bones, my friend casually said, “Did I tell you this area has the highest concentration of mountain lions in Colorado?” No, he had failed to inform me.
After fishing for an hour we began to smell the odiferous debris of a rotting animal. It was not long after that we discovered some pungent, rancid bear scat. What the bear was eating, we were now smelling. The odor and the scat indicated the meal and the diner were near.
For the next five hours I whooped, yelled, barked, hooted, and implored with relentless abandon to discourage a lion or a bear from preying on soft, defenseless, and in my case, aged flesh. I’d say every 30-90 seconds I buffeted the air with my desire.
Certainly, I also prayed. It is not my concern to talk about how shouting can be prayer, whereas gentle supplications might be a self-soothing panacea. Nor am I concerned to highlight the need for persistence or the radical comparison of the Father to a sleeping friend only awakened to offer bread due to the shameless noise. It is almost too boggling to reckon with the playfulness of Jesus to shake us to consider: if one can rouse an irritated, sleepy, daylight friend, then what must be true with regard to our merciful, vigilant, eternal lover?
My point is far simpler. We sat later by the river eating our lunch and my friend said, “Tell me about how The Allender Center utilizes intercessors.” It is fascinating how our brain codes ambient sound. We were sitting feet from the dim roar of spring runoff and particles of white foam cascaded before us like tango dancers. Yet, I could hear almost nothing. My brain went quiet. Eventually I said, “My wife prays. She occasionally accompanies us to conferences and recovery weeks. A beautifully crazy orthopedic surgeon prays for each person during a recovery week. We have others whom I know pray for us, but we are not robust or organized to ask for prayer when we need it.”
He exclaimed, “Holy Cow, it is amazing how the Father has protected you to do what you do without much prayer. Imagine what could happen if you actually asked people to pray.”
I am asking now.
Last week was a game changer. We were doing a recovery week with women who all had been through our first week. They had been engaging their story and the heartache and hope regarding their sexual abuse for well over a year. They were seasoned and impassioned women ready to do arduous, dangerous work. During the week, our entire team -Lynn, Abby, Shannon, Lauri, Elizabeth, Becky, and I – were each stricken with odd, out of the blue physical suffering. We limped to the finish line. It was a stunning week but we felt like we were up against an entity far darker than our normal spiritual assault.
We cried out for prayer. But we were too tired and overwhelmed to call out to more than a few. Just to explain our situation felt exhausting. Somehow we made it through the week and all of us have recovered. Great goodness rose like a harvest moon and we dined on the excellences of his favor. And I forgot my desperate need for prayer, until the river froze in silence and I could not find words for a friend’s simple and legitimate question.
All deep conversations and wise questions must eventually succumb, even if for a moment, to fishing. We fished well within sight of each other because two are more formidable to a predator than a single, solitary soldier. And we each shouted or bayed in our own manner. I was more afraid, consequently I was more consistent and shameless. No doubt you are ahead of me. Sadly, I was not even slightly attuned to the drama.
I was relentless and shamelessly knocking on the door of heaven calling forth for nature to mind its business and not mess with a child of Adam. My vocalizations may have been intended for a bear not to haphazardly fall upon us, but my truest intent was a cry for protection.
Jesus casually asked, “Are you willing to cry out as shamelessly for even a few who would pray for you?”
I imploded after hearing the question. People are busy. Who would knowingly walk into the darkness of abuse? Is prayer that crucial? It will be more work. I can’t impose. What will intercessors want from me? The insurgence of doubt, questions, justifications, and bear scat startled me. It seems so simple. I believe in prayer and yet so few have aligned with the Allender Center to pray. Ask and seek. Knock.
Instead, my heart was engulfed in fear and doubt.
I need prayer. Desperately. You see we have visitors to feed and for some reason we lack even the most basic ingredients to offer welcome. I plead with you – if you are one who knows how to pray – meaning you have offered bread often enough to the likes of us and know that you are called, gifted, and willing to pray for a troubled band of warriors who cannot help but fish dangerous ground, then open your door.
Editor’s Note: If you are interested in hearing more about praying regularly for us and our conferences, recovery weeks, and workshops please fill out this form.