Years ago I was at a Christian gathering which ended in a prayer circle. People were lifting up prayers for a variety of people and reasons. I had a special prayer request. A friend, who was there, had recently been diagnosed with cancer. I wanted to pray for her, but I am shy and don’t speak up easily in larger groups. Plus, I wondered if she wanted everyone there to know about her illness. I wanted to pray for her, but I was paralyzed. I couldn’t seem to get it out. I was afraid of doing or saying the wrong thing.
Then a man started praying: he said he knew that many of us had unspoken prayers–things we wanted others to pray for but couldn’t express for one reason or another –too personal, too complicated to explain, too painful. He lifted up all our unspoken prayers, trusting God to know what was in our hearts and minds but couldn’t or wouldn’t speak out loud. Afterwards I went and told my friend, “that prayer was for you!”(probably for lots of others, too). Months later we were able to tell the man who prayed for unspoken prayers how meaningful that had been for both of us. We were touched deeply by his prayer.
I’ve never forgotten that experience. Now in church, or in other situations of group intercession, I often add a prayer for all those that are going “unspoken.” It may be because I have an unspoken prayer of my own; it may be just because I know there are others out there who need that prayer as much as I once did.
How about you? Have you had an experience like mine? Do you, or your church routinely pray for all our “unspoken” prayers?