When do you pray?
Maybe you have time set aside each day for prayer? Perhaps you are a member of a prayer group? Or do you wish you could find the time to pray more?
Whatever your answer to this question, sometimes in our lives, something happens that stops us in our tracks—and our first instinct is to pray.
Earlier this year, American football player Damar Hamlin suffered a life-threatening cardiac arrest while playing for the Buffalo Bills. In the TV studio, game analyst Dan Orlovsky was compelled to pray for Damar— live on US television! ‘It’s on my heart that I want to pray for him,’ he exclaimed to millions of viewers. ‘We lift up Damar Hamlin’s name in Your Name. We pray for strength, healing and comfort for Damar. We believe in prayer!’
What happened to Damar was so unfathomable that Dan was powerless to do anything to make it better—apart from to pray.
But, let me tell you, prayer is powerful!
One of the many privileges of my role at Prison Fellowship is to hear the prayers of people in prison who call our Prayer Line.
The calls provide us with small windows into the lives of people in prison. So many people who are not only worried for themselves but also about their families on the outside. They tell us stories about their lives.
Often, people call Prayer Line during their most difficult moments. They share with us when they feel so desperate and hopeless. They have no other options left. But they can pray.
Bev rang to tell us that her family home keeps flooding. She confides, ‘I have some very big things happening this week. And I need some prayers for the outcomes to be positive.’
When Lewis rang from prison, his partner Nicola was in labour. He asked for prayer for her to be safe and for the healthy delivery of their son.
James has been in prison for over 40 years. He rang because he is concerned about his mental health and the support that he had been offered being delayed. He told Prayer Line, ‘I don’t know what to do. I am asking for prayers for me to survive through the night.’
Bev, Lewis and James tell of situations that you and I may find difficult to cope with. But imagine for a moment having to do so from inside a prison cell. Imagine being unable to call the plumber to make your home safe. Imagine not knowing if your child had arrived safely into the world. Imagine being so desperate that you are asking for prayers from strangers for your survival.
It is heartening to know that Prayer Line is there to help in these times of distress—that there are hundreds of PF volunteers praying for these situations within hours of the phone calls being made.
All of this reminds me of Mother Teresa who said, ‘I used to believe that prayer changes things. But now I know that prayer changes us and we change things.’
We do not always hear the end of people’s stories. And we know that not all of them have positive outcomes. But, while people are calling Prayer Line, we can stand alongside them in prayer knowing that God is an ever-present help in times of trouble. We know that prayer is powerful.
Prayer Line began during the pandemic—a particularly bleak time to be in prison. Yet it continues to be a lifeline for many people who have come to the end of their own strength and can think of nothing else to do but to pray.
Can I ask you to do two things today?
Firstly, please pray! You and I believe in the power of prayer! Remember people in prison who need God to be their refuge and strength today.
Secondly, please consider what you can give. Your gift will help us produce more positive outcomes for those in our prisons who need our support.
Yes, I will make a donation.
Your gift will help us continue to support men and women in prison through this crisis, and emerge stronger and ready to reach even more people in Christ’s name. Thank you!