Friday, June 17, 2011
Praying with people on the street
It's so hot and humid here I had to get up at 6am and go and lie outside! Tracy had been out on the street tonight and has just got in.
We have 19 adults here including Tracy and myself serving the work of 24-7 prayer here in ibiza, 8 of those are our first two week team and they are doing a great job.
People in our world still really want prayer, even if they wouldn't call themselves christians. Even though this is our 7th season I still find myself amazed and humbled by the amount of opportunities we get to chat, listen to and pray with people on the street.
Here's a little bit about how it goes when we pray for others on the streets.
Number one prayer request we get is always "others" people generally always want you to pray for someone else. At first I think they feel it's selfish to ask for individual prayer, often saying things like "I don't deserve your prayers but could you pray for my Granny" or a sick loved one, or friend who is having a hard time.
People often ask us to pray for dead people, we do pray for them but generally turn the prayer to pray for the bereaved family and friends. Often it's like they want us to get a message to their friend or family member, or they just miss them dearly and want us to pray that they will be ok in heaven.
Once we have prayed for others we tend to ask "Is there anything we can pray for you about?" mostly we get prayers about future, meeting the right partner, getting enough money, good employment that kind of thing.
Often as we talk and listen to people it goes to a deeper level, 5 areas that people talk to us a lot about are: guilt, regret, fear, pain, failure. I think this tends to happen because we just take the time, we pray before we go out, we ask to be led, allow the Holy Spirit to prompt and guide us and we don't rush. People are also on holiday so they tend to be more relaxed and also in less of a hurry. This is where you really have to believe God will show up, he does. We get a lot of emotional response as we pray for people and it's always beautiful to watch God show up and start to interact with people who maybe hadn't given Him a lot of thought.
We will also pray for people to be healed, you'll be surprised by how many people won't want you to do that, but we are never frightened to ask! We have prayed for a number of people who have got better.
We work hard at not using religious language. I use certain phrases that I really mean for our generation. I pray for God to smile on people, to bless their families, to help them in work, to provide all they need. I often also pray for peace, people need peace. We do of course ask the Holy Spirit to lead our praying but it does help to have given some fore thought to what you are going to say.
If people don't want us to pray for them there and then on the street we ask if they would like to fill out a prayer request form that we will take back to our prayer room and pray about for them. A couple of tips: get them to write it if they don't want to write it you write it but get them to sign it. You then end up praying their prayer more accurately.
Of course over the years we have had comedy prayer requests like guys asking for longer willy's or some asking if Leicester could win the FA cup. We still pin them on our wall and pray for the person but not the request!!!
These last 4 days alone we have prayed with over 30 people on the streets here in Ibiza.