Pastors hear plenty of requests for prayer. Its what we do. Someone has a need, so they come to us and ask us to intercede for them. It is humbling, really. James says that "the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. " That someone would place that kind of trust in me, or would hold me in such regard is a weighty burden.
We've had some strange requests at Butler Church of Christ over the years. A woman once asked our elders to lay hands on her car and pray over it. The car never did really run right prompting me to wonder if the men should have anointed it with 10W40 too.
This past Sunday little Jacob came up to me and showed me a scratch on his arm. He asked me to pray for it. I knelt there and asked Jesus to help him feel better and to help Jacob be more coordinated so he might stop falling down and hurting himself.
The oddest prayer request I've received recently, though, arrived in an unmarked envelope with a Kearney, New Jersey postmark. It came addressed to Butler Christian Church (not our name), and had the wrong street number. In a town our size street numbers are more guidelines than actual locations, and with my neighbor Bill as our postman, we got the letter anyway. Inside was a half sheet of lined paper - the sort that my kids use in school. The words, nearly illegible, simply asked us to pray for someone named Ethel
I shared the request with our congregation Sunday as I explained to the sacred responsibility that is entrusted to us when someone asks for prayer.
Today I received a second request from our mysterious letter-writer. More legible, the author asked us to pray for Ethel Thomas and Gordon C. Gladden. I have no idea who they are, or what their need is. But I'll pray for them. Perhaps you could too . . .