There have been several occasions the Lord has brought someone to mind, and I sense in my spirit I’m supposed to drop everything I’m doing in that moment and pray for the person. Sometimes I have no idea what I’m praying for, or why that person has come to mind. I only know I’m to pray for them right then.
One night in 2004 or 2005, I was lying in bed praying for a member of my extended family. As I was praying, I felt a physical weight start to press me into my mattress and the name of another person appeared to me. I hadn’t seen, heard from, or spoken to this person in several years. I had no idea of their whereabouts, circumstances, or anything else about them. All I knew was I needed to pray for them. Right then.
As I started to pray, the weight grew heavier, and I sunk deeper into my mattress. Whatever was going on needed URGENT prayer. I started praying fervently for this person, focusing all of my strength and energy on their safety, protection, and healing. I didn’t know what else to do. I was almost frantic in my prayer for them. As I kept praying, the pressure lifted, then was gone.
I’ve never experienced anything quite like that since, though God has absolutely moved me to pray for specific people at specific times.
It’s been about 12 years since I prayed that urgent prayer, and I still have no idea why, what happened, or what the result was. I didn’t need to know any of that, though. I just needed to know enough to realize God was calling me to pray for them at that very moment.
Usually when I sense God’s direction to pray for someone or something specific, it’s not an especially comfortable situation for me. Once after a speaker shared with a group of women, I felt God calling me to pray for the speaker right there. I didn’t want to, though, because I didn’t want anyone to think I was trying to be super-religious during the event. It made me sick to my stomach, but I stood up and asked if I could pray over her right then. Because I knew I needed to.
Another time, still, I was at a women’s retreat. A dear friend had been having a rough go of it. I knew about 10% of what she was dealing with emotionally. During a lunch break, she was sitting down at a table, laughing and talking with others. I was doing my awkward thing and standing, turning in slow circles, trying to figure out where to go and what to do. I’m pretty much horrible at interactions in large group settings.
I stood there, slowly spinning, half smiling trying to look inconspicuous. During one of my rotations, I saw her sitting and enjoying her meal and conversation.
“Go pray for her.”
I heard it as if Jesus was standing right next to me, telling me what to do. Subconsciously I argued back, But she’s fine. She’s enjoying herself, she’s in the middle of a conversation, I don’t think I need to g—
“Go pray for her.”
I walked over, and in all my awkward suaveness, bent down while she was seated, put one hand on her arm, and one hand around her back, resting upon her head. I started to pray in her ear.
I didn’t say, “Hey, I feel like the Lord is telling me to pray for you, so can I do that now?” Nope. Queen Awkward here just grabs people and starts talking in their ear, calling on the Holy of Holies in the middle of their bite of breadstick. That’s how I roll. Thankfully this friend loves and trusts me, and was not at all weirded out by it. At least I don’t think she was.
After I was done, I gave her a little squeeze, turned, and walked away. I didn’t even stick around to ask her what was going on, or if she was okay. I just left. Awkward entrance, call on the power of prayer, awkward exit.
It was months later, we were seated together in a restaurant at an impromptu mom’s night out gathering. She started to tell me the story of the day I prayed for her.
She has dealt with chronic, debilitating headaches. Sometimes they make her so sick, she can’t move. She had started to get one that day and was going to have to leave early. She didn’t want to drive back by herself before it got so bad she wouldn’t be able to operate a vehicle. These headaches have been an ever-present struggle in her life for years. She’s seen doctor after doctor, and has yet to find permanent relief.
Sitting there at the table, while I was arguing with God about praying over her, her headache had intensified. I walked over and placed one hand on her head, having no idea she was under such physical duress. As I prayed for her, her head stopped hurting. She felt immediate relief. She had never experienced that before.
As she told me this, I started crying. In a restaurant. Because that’s what I do. But I was humbled and awed the Lord would prompt me to act in His power for her interests. I’m an awkward, sarcastic woman, yet He chose me in that moment to help her.
I don’t always know the reason I’m called to pray for something or someone specific. I sometimes don’t ever learn the results or the purpose of the prayers I pray. But I know enough to trust when I’m prompted to, I need to be obedient and pray them.
He hears us, absolutely. It’s also so important for us to pay attention and hear Him. He’ll tell us exactly what we need to pray, we just have to listen.