If you could choose one person - anyone from any time - to add you to their prayer list, who would you choose?
Let me state the obvious first, then ask you to reconsider the question. My first choice would be none other than Jesus. Jesus said we ought always to pray; he gave us a brief example of prayer in what has been called “The Lord’s Prayer.” In John 17, we have what is, truly, our Lord’s prayer for His disciples. In that prayer, He said, “I do not ask for these (disciples) only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word...”, which would include us. The writer of Hebrews tells us “...that He always lives to make intercession for them (us),” so He’s in Heaven praying for us right now.
...but who else? How about David Jeremiah or Charles Stanley, Max Lucado or James Dobson? Maybe Billy Graham. In the past couple centuries, there have been prayer warriors like R.A. Torrey, E.M. Bounds, D.L. Moody, Peter Marshall, C.S. Lewis, John Knox, the Wesley brothers, Leonard Ravenhill, and John Hyde who was nicknamed “Praying Hyde.”
I thought of C.D. Cole who pastored the little mission church in my hometown that my parents helped to start. Dr. Cole used to pray for more than five minutes in public prayers at First Baptist, in Madisonville. I thought timing his prayers was inappropriate, but some of my friends actually watched the clock - literally. I’d love to hear him pray again.
Authors such as Oswald Chambers (My Utmost for His Highest), Andrew Murray (With Christ in the School of Prayer), or Mrs. Charles Cowan (Streams in the Desert) might make the short list of whom I would want praying for me. Maybe missionaries like Hudson Taylor, who was said to have got out of bed every morning at 3 a.m. to spend hours in prayer or Elizabeth Elliot who prayed for the people that murdered her husband, then returned to the jungles to tell them about Jesus.
What an honor it would be to be on the prayer list of any of those folks or others such as David Walters. David was one of most Godly men I ever knew. He memorized scripture like I memorized my Social Security number and phone number, and he spent hours in prayer every day.
Richard Oldham, the pastor who baptized me, tied the knot for Sammie and me, and led in my ordination to ministry, Bro. Richard prayed for me - for us - faithfully until he was promoted to Glory.
Then I think of times I have heard my own children pray...and my precious grandchildren. There’s something about child-faith, innocence, and humility. Jesus compared a self-righteous man praying in the temple to the simple prayer of a sinner who prayed, in humility, “God be merciful to me, a sinner.” Remember whose prayer our Lord said was heard?
And there’s the matter of talking to God on a personal level, like talking to a close friend. Recently, while Katie Grace was visiting with us, she interrupted our meal to pray for firefighters who had been called away from the restaurant. Later, at bedtime, she held a conversation with the Father about everyone she knows and loves. Instead of ending her prayer with “Amen!” she told God “Good night,” then added, “I hope you have a good night tonight.”
That’s who I want praying for me - always.
Steve Playl, a columnist, college instructor, retired pastor, and chaplain, may be reached at email@example.com.