She was sitting alone on a rock with a faraway look in her eye. Children were playing not far from her, picking up and bringing her sticks, shiny rocks, colorful weeds and other treasures only children have eyes to spot. We walked up to her, and just briefly she seemed startled out of her reverie as we greeted her calmly but warmly, introduced ourselves and asked how we could simply pray for her.
It was the simplest of interchanges. We’d barely exchanged our names, let alone begun to unpack each other’s stories. But it became clear this was someone God had put in our path, and He knew what He was doing as we took simple steps of obedience, imitating the Good Shepherd who intently seeks out lost sheep far from the fold. This young mother’s story of brokenness would not be what carried the day as we struck up a friendship with her and prayed God’s blessing and mercy over her.
What most deeply impacted both her and us was her total and immediate confidence that God Himself had sent us to her to encourage her and strengthen her to stay on a path, for her own sake and the sake of her children, a path that had moved her from the East coast to the Midwest to escape a life of addiction. She shared with us her number, shared very specific ways to pray for her, and had the children come meet us, telling them God had sent us to pray for the family.
Maybe not every prayerwalk holds such immediate and meaningful interactions. But why not ask for them, seek them and anticipate them? We are, after all, sent out by the very One who knows the number of hairs on each head, the needs and hurts of each heart, and who rejoices and celebrates in each lost sheep, each son and daughter found and brought home.
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Scriptures that come to mind:
“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Does he not leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? … Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.'” Luke 15:4, 6
“From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.” Acts 17:26-27