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Encouraging Prayer - by Debbie Simonds

I begin this blog with sound advice for every Christian, "Don't ever stop!" You may be wondering what I am urging you not to stop? Your mind might first think of the obvious; do not stop trusting God; do not stop reading the Bible; do not stop helping others; do not stop spreading the gospel. We should not stop doing these things, and kudos to you if you got one or more correct. What I have in mind requires a simple act that can leave a lifelong impression.

Actually, before I reveal what Christians should not stop, I will begin with a story. There was once a young 17-year-old woman who did not know that God loved her unconditionally. She had gone through her life believing that God existed, yes but that her life was too messed up for a perfect God. The young woman entered the workforce, and at her workplace, became acquainted with an older female co-worker who helped train her. They soon became friends. This woman eventually shared that she was a former nun.

The young girl was reserved, cautious and never shared anything about her private life or past with her co-worker friend, mainly because she felt it was an unworthy life. Despite this, the older woman respected her privacy, and their friendship grew. The older woman was patient, kind and loved life. One summer day, the older woman invited the young girl to meet her family. They stayed in a cottage and canoed on the lake. They had a wonderful time together.

After a full day of outdoor activity, while the young woman was preparing for bed, she noticed something on the bedside table. It was a few snacks and a bookmark. The young girl picked up the bookmark, and it was signed by her friend, and as she read it, tears began to stream down her face. This was just what this young woman needed to hear. It was a beautiful poem which read:

My friend, I said a prayer for you today

And I know God must've heard

I felt the answer in my heart

Although He spoke no word.

I didn't ask for wealth or fame

I knew you wouldn't mind

I ask Him to send you treasures

Of a far different kind.

I asked that He watch over you

At the start of each new day

And grant you health and peace

And friends to share your way.

I asked for happiness for you

In all things great and small

But it was for God's loving care

I prayed most of all...

This was such an encouraging prayer and right there and then, it helped accelerate the young female's faith in God. She took the unique bookmark home with her and kept it in her photo album along with the photos commemorating the day. The older woman was so happy when her young friend accepted the Lord five years later. As time went on, the two women went their separate ways and lost contact. Years passed, and the young woman, who was now older, fondly read the bookmark during her devotion time before being ordained as a Deacon. She never forgot the prayer of her friend expressed in words on the bookmark. She removed the bookmark from the photo album and placed it in her mirror, which remains to this day, over forty years later. Every time she looks at it, she is reminded that her friend's prayer is still valid and is still being answered.

Therefore, please don't ever stop praying for others and don't ever stop giving encouraging prayer bookmarks, tracts, cards, and letters to people you encounter in your life. Whether it is your family, friends, or someone you just met, the written prayer can impact a soul in ways that you may not know. God wants us to pray for one another, James 5:16 "The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective." and 1 John 5:14 says, "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us"(NIV) May God's Will be done. God alone knows who needs encouraging prayer.

You may have guessed it, the young woman in the story was me, and soon I will be ordained a Reverend.

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