I don’t know what she looks like. I don’t know whether she’s tall or short, what color her hair is, or what her laugh sounds like. But a woman I’ve never met is changing my life. You might wonder how this could be possible… the answer is simple: she has been praying for me almost every single day for about two years now.
I know very little about her besides her name (which is Gayle). We are connected through our mutual friend Betty, who has been a steadfast and faithful friend to me. She and Gayle have prayed for me almost every single night.
Prayer is hard work, especially prayer for others. We are all fairly motivated to pray for our own needs, problems, and desires, since obviously we’re the ones being benefited by the prayers. But praying for others, especially with any consistency, is hard. In fact, I think that the ministry of prayer is one of the most humble ways we can serve each other in the body of Christ. After all, when we encourage someone through our words or our works, our labors on others’ behalf are fairly conspicuous. People will know that we took time to serve and help them, and we’re more likely to be thanked for our investment. But prayer? That’s a different story. For the most part, we’re completely unaware when another person is sacrificing time with their friends and family, hobbies, relaxation, or work, to knock on heaven’s door not for their own needs, but for ours. Since what they do is in secret, they’re not likely to get thanked or praised. Their reward will come from the God who sees in secret.
Life events over the past few years have caused me to see the reality of spiritual warfare with new clarity. We really do have an enemy, he really does desire to destroy our faith, and we can come treacherously close to wanting to give up. Of course, God is the sovereign one, but I believe that He uses means, and that Gayle and Betty’s prayers have been one aspect of God’s means of preserving me in the faith.
Ultimately, this displays the glory of Jesus Christ in His ministry of prayer for us. In John 17, we see Jesus praying to the Father for those who belong to Him. And in the book of Hebrews, we see His ongoing ministry as our High Priest, interceding for us, as does the Holy Spirit.
It’s hard for me to fathom how someone who doesn’t even know me has been such a faithful friend in prayer for me. But I am convinced that one day in the glories of the new heavens and earth, I will see just how much my life was preserved and protected through her prayers. And until then, I hope to become a woman like her: full of the character of Jesus Christ that I too might labor in prayer for someone I’ve never met.