I have wondered many times over the years why “the church” has had such little impact on or in America—original impact aside. Consider the avalanche of reading and audio/visual materials. Consider the “churches” and universities and seminaries. Considerable is an understatement, to say the least. I was reading a news story this morning about a man who, visiting the Supreme Court building, was told by the tour-guide in Washington DC that the inscriptions were the “…ten amendments.”
I had a revelation of sorts… it sort of goes along with my thoughts on that news piece and another thought that often times our involvement in “church” is like a weekly bus ride or a Sunday bus ride. I know that many are offended by that comment for their experience is not like that. However, for many, it is that and more (or less, really). For many, “attendance” is very “satisfying” and they rightly edify and are edified by a weekly gathering. For others, however, the weekly “service” is just that: a service—an obligation or a routine course of action and that’s all. It’s pretty easy and for most pretty comfortable to go through the motions of life never bumping into others and never really being known — just seen.
So, my ‘revelation’ this morning? Unspoken (prayer) requests. I think we’re trained to be unspoken just like we’re trained or conditioned to say, “fine, thank you” when asked how we’re doing. You know the way it goes and it always goes something like: are their any needs? Few or no hands but many nods. Any unspoken requests? Many hands, many nods. And that’s how we pray for each other. It’s sort of like: I know you must have needs — maybe even important situations are concerning you — so I will pray for you. I don’t really know what your need is or how I might be used of the LORD to assist you, but I will pray for you and your… unspoken request. And we go on — content with our experience because we know nothing different.
You know why this practice is so menacing? Because it sort of makes us “unspoken” Christians as well. Incognito prayers make incognito pray-ers and incognito believers and, sadly, incognito to the world. As far as being the feet and hands of the LORD Jesus, we are too often incognito. Now, I don’t mean that we should boast of our doings or take glory or credit for righteous deeds, but I do think that it should be obvious that we are different —a peculiar people— in the world. It should be the desire of every believer to outwardly demonstrate the inward change that only Jesus makes. Instead, we blend, we fade, we quietly follow the ways of the world and not only is our lamp hidden, but maybe we don’t even get filled with oil and aren’t lit. Could it be that our unspoken requests become unasked or unsaid prayers and we become unspoken Christians.
Does it surprise some people when they hear that you are a believer? Or is your faith and trust in the living LORD obvious and is it obvious that He is alive and working in you? O, let us not have unspoken lives and be unspoken believers. Lets us live and demonstrate enough evidence to prove our case: Jesus is LORD. This is one of my prayers.
0 thoughts on “Unspoken Requests”
Heather, I totally understand what you are saying. In fact, though I didn’t convey it properly, I find I do this unless I am sure the sister is genuinely interested in whatever I might say or share. So, yes, I understand the reservation to share. I just mean that, in general, the “church” (institutional or not) is very anonymous and that’s why I sort of latched on to the unspoken request sort of thing. Too many leaders have fallen, marriages have crumbled, businesses have failed, health issues have been experienced without someone “outside” knowing any inkling of any of them. So… yeah… my analogy breaks down—thanks for writing! I have needed to write to you for some time! I am so glad to have this note from you. ———pamela
Yes, this is the unfortunate state of the Church today… institutionalized or not! But, remember the times when somebody shared something personal ~ a personal struggle or a prayer request which exposed the person as less than the typical “I’m-find-thank-you-and-how-are-you” Christian Sister~? Let’s just say that the echo of my lonely voice after opening up to someone is quite deafening. I have only found one person who didn’t avoid me me after I shared some personal struggle or prayer request. Yikes! So, this is why I personally just bring my requests to the Lord or my husband only. The walls are thick here!!!