Have you ever awoken with a huge appetite? The kind where you feel like you could take on Paul Bunyan in a flapjack eating contest? I awoke with a hunger like this for prayer on a day that I was the pastor of the day at Siloam Family Health Center.
As I have mentioned, about half a dozen people are prayed for at Siloam on a given day. It wouldn’t be nearly enough for the appetite the Lord was giving me on this day. The number that came to my mind was 40.
I do not tell this story to lift myself up in anyway, but to share how satisfying praying with others can be. I wish I woke up hungry like this every day, but usually I am more interested in flapjacks.
The employees and volunteers of the day gather every morning before they open the doors for prayer. What a great place to work! They pray for God to be seen through their work and that they themselves might see him at work.
This particular day everyone was tired. They held a big donor event the day before for which they had been planning for months. One of the volunteers who I know to have a remarkable keen sense of the presence of God said, “Why do I feel like God is going to rain down fire from Heaven today?”
I introduced our mission for the day of praying for 40 people over the next 8 hours. Their eyes brightened up. I suggested that we start with praying for each other.
After we prayed, a line of employees and volunteers formed at the pastoral office door. I kept a log of who was prayed for. Then they started sending patients my way.
I used about every translator we had. We prayed in Arabic, Spanish, Korean, and even English. I prayed with Kenyans, Burmese, Iraqis, Mexicans, Chinese, and Croatians. I prayed with the CEO and the head of medicine. We prayed in the lobby, the kids play area, patient rooms, offices, and even the billing station. We prayed for healing, for hope, for citizenship, for jobs, and for loved ones separated by distance but not by spirit.
With an hour to go we needed to pray with twelve more to get to forty. Laurie, the occupational therapist, saw that I was starting to tire. She grabbed me and started going up to employees and patients and saying, “You need prayer! Let’s pray!” By the time the hour was complete we made it to 46!
We may never know what impact these prayers had on people, but I know it had an impact on me and the Siloam staff. At the next pastoral care meeting a month or so later, I learned that our prayer rampage had kicked off a great week for them. They felt a spiritual lift that impacted the way they cared for people. They wouldn’t be satisfied with praying for a few.
I came home stuffed full of something much better than even flapjacks…the Spirit. I was exhausted and full at the same time. I dozed off remembering all the stories and faces that I had heard and seen and how the Spirit had indeed rained down upon us from heaven