It really doesn’t need to be Christmas for me to enjoy one of my favorite movies of all time: It’s A Wonderful Life. The movie begins with scenes from the small town of Bedford Falls with voices raised in prayer on behalf of our hero, George Bailey. One by one, voices young and old are lifted asking God that he would look down and take care of George. The movie is a vivid reminder that life is full of joys as well as heartaches. There are so many lessons from this sweet movie, not the least of all, how connected we all are to one another—how every person’s life touches the life of many others and the connection that exists especially between believers.

When I first started attending Christ Church, it was glaringly obvious that prayer was an important part of the church’s DNA. From being able to request prayer online, visiting a prayer table in the back of the worship center, having a cup of coffee with someone in the cafe and praying together, or visiting the prayer center in the lobby, faithful prayer partners are always available. 

Do we dare ask the question: Just how important is it to pray and to pray for others? First, we would have to say Christ commanded us to do so. We’re not only to pray for our family, friends, and fellow believers, but even for our enemies. And by praying for others, we are imitating Christ who intercedes with God on our behalf.

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people – for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.  This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

I Timothy 2:1-4

When we have an opportunity to pray for brothers and sisters we can share in one another’s burdens.

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.

Galatians 6:2

We can pray for things such as spiritual growth, physical needs, and encouragement. And when we pray for others, we learn to trust God. When we offer intercessory prayers—pleading with God on behalf of loved ones and friends—we are trusting in His ability to hear and answer.

Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

Matthew 7:7

We pray—for ourselves and others—because we know it’s God who holds the power and it is our means of communicating with him.

This is the confidence we have in approaching God; that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.

I John 5:14-15

After a Sunday morning at the prayer tables, I was reflecting on my drive home upon the requests that have been shared in recent months. A young woman came to the table sharing she had been away for almost 15 years and it was the first time that she had been back to church. Prayers were sought by a family grieving over salvation for a beloved grandfather. Prayers were sought for a wayward brother struggling in his addictions. Prayers were asked by families struggling with the cares of the world. So many honest, courageous, vulnerable people seeking the only answer to their pain – Jesus Christ.

We have a prayer communication channel for the staff here at Christ’s Church. It’s an incredible thing to watch a prayer request go up on the channel and in nanoseconds, staff members are responding that they are praying. There are scores of requests that come in daily and it is a blessing to be able to lift these situations up to God knowing that through prayer, spiritual forces are put into motion that help others as well as change those who intercede.

Let me wrap this up with something that happened just a few days ago. A lady called the church in desperate need of prayer. She told us she is struggling and grieving the passing of her father in October. She described herself as all alone and in pain feeling lost and abandoned. We talked for a while and prayed together, hearing her desperation diminishing as we prayed. I asked her if we could share her prayer request and told her people would be praying for her. She laughed and said she had just watched It’s A Wonderful Life last night and was remembering all the people praying for George Bailey. Pausing, she then wondered out loud if she too would receive an angel.

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