One of the first things I ever did when I came on board at Guideposts was pray for others. It was a Monday morning and after being taken around the office to meet my fellow employees, someone rang a bell, and we congregated in the conference room.
There was a pile of letters in the middle. I looked around and someone said, “Take a pile and read them.” What were they? Letters requesting prayer. Prayers for every kind of need imaginable. For health, for financial security, for jobs, for beloved family members, for happiness, for peace of mind, even one from a woman who wanted to be sure that the man who was going to ask her to marry him was the right guy.
Sometimes people sent in pictures, most of the time they didn’t. But you could gather a lot just from how they wrote down their requests, studying their handwriting, looking at their stationery or whatever they used to write the request. Sometimes it looked like it was just the back of a shopping list.
It was a kind of shopping list in a way. A list for God.
After reading quietly, we went around the table and people picked one or two of the letters to read aloud, mentioning some of the others. Some people were even brave enough to reveal a personal request we could pray for. “Wow,” I thought, “what kind of workplace is this where people are willing to reveal such personal details? To be so vulnerable.”
Maybe it came just from reading the personal details enumerated in the letters. That readers felt they trusted Guideposts and could be that honest with us. It all stayed in that conference room. Turned out that was Guideposts’ prayer closet.
Praying for others. Well, it’s a tradition that has continued over the years. It started out organically enough. No announcement in the magazine that we’d have something called Prayer Fellowship. Just a natural outpouring of needs and concerns and trust from our readers.
All these years later, the tradition continues. We’re fortunate in many ways because with the internet and our website, people can send their requests without having to pay for postage, and we can read the requests right away. And you can too. You can join us in the prayers.
Thanksgiving is coming up, and we’ve made this season of thankfulness a special moment for our prayers. Monday, November 22 is Thanksgiving Day of Prayer. Of course, you can let us know what you’re grateful for. I’ve found that one of the best ways to get over the blues is to write down the things I’m grateful for. Feel free to do that.
But also, tell us about your concerns, your hopes, your fears, your passions, the way God is moving in your life. Let us pray for you. It’s one of the oldest traditions of our faith. And as I discovered that day so long ago—who’s counting—it’s something that enriches the person who does the praying as much as the one prayed for.
May your prayers be answered. Amen.