Praying is Easy: The Phonebook Joanna Callender - 22 Aug 2018
I send a number of messages every single day. They’re mostly to the same people:
Mum: “YES, I AM HAVING A GOOD DAY.”
Best friend who lives in a different city: “WHEN CAN WE CHAT?”
My housemates: “BUY MILK PLEASE.”
The joy of being able to contact people on such an instant, regular basis is one of the great triumphs of the 21st century. But if you’re anything like me, there are a lot of people in your phonebook who you don’t talk to at all.
In January, God prompted me to start a very ambitious New Year’s resolution: to pray for every single person in my phonebook. And not just to pray for them, to message them too.
“HELLO, I AM PRAYING THROUGH MY PHONEBOOK THIS YEAR, AND TODAY I’VE REACHED YOU….”
It started well. I happen to have a good number of Christian friends whose names begin with A, so I began in earnest.
And I got messages back: “THANKS SO MUCH, WHAT A GREAT IDEA!”
But then it got harder.
Some people didn’t reply at all. I had to message people I hadn’t spoken to in years; others who didn’t go to church; those I only added because we’d worked together for a few days and I really hadn’t spoken to since.
Yet, I’d made a deal with God to pray for every single person in my phonebook.
Truthfully, I haven’t messaged everyone I’ve prayed for. I’ve been scared. Sometimes I’d put off that message for days, meaning that I spent up to a week stuck on the same person. Sometimes I’ve simply prayed, and then I’ve moved on.
But I have prayed. And God has heard those prayers.
There have been a few incredible, supernatural moments too. Those who have replied saying that they desperately needed prayer that day; when I’ve messaged a Bible verse or word and received a reply saying God was already saying that exact thing.
I’ve heard life updates from friends I’d lost touch with, and so many people have offered to pray for me in return.
Ultimately, though, this challenge isn’t about my triumphs or failures, or receiving a reply that will make me feel good each day.
It’s about how God partners with us; hears our prayers; uses our human relationships to bless and encourage others – and us, too.
It is such an joy to have experienced this, day in, day out.
If you want to be challenged in who you pray for, I heartily recommend praying through your phonebook. Nowhere else is there a list of people in your life – one you didn’t even know you compiled - who you are connected to. It’s the easiest prayer list to start with.
And remember that you don’t have to text everyone. You don’t have to beat yourself up if you miss a day.
God delights in all of our prayers for all of his people. Begin with that. Then begin with the letter A.