Are You Ignoring Their Prayer Requests?

Frustration mounts as I open my car door and step into a large puddle that covers my shoes. The wind blows my umbrella inside out and I grit my teeth to keep my tongue from sin.

I can’t believe how much rain has fallen! The freezing wind bites, the cold rain soaks my clothes, and I am so over it! Weathermen may rejoice in breaking precipitation records, but I do not!

I turn the key in the security door, hit one button for light and another for warmth, change into slippers, and sort through the mail. I’m excited to see I have a letter from one of my sponsored kids.

I open it and see the familiar white and green paper that indicates it’s from Ethiopia, and I can almost quote what is written without reading a word. There’s the standard greeting, he’s fine, am I well, he’s being going to church, please pray for his studies, and please pray for rain for the crops.

man plowing field with two oxen

I toss the letter on the couch and move on with my day. I’ve read it all before, and as a city girl the request for rain means little to me. I figure that maybe it’s just a sentence the teacher wrote on the blackboard and once again it’s been copied. A generic, meaningless, space filler.

I pray for this boy but forget about the rain for the crops, because surely the requests I can think of are more important than rain.

Sunday comes and the rain still falls. At church a sponsor targets me to ask what the ministry is doing about the drought and famine in Ethiopia and Kenya. I shrug and say I’m not in Marketing, but I’m sure we are there helping already.

Try as I might the Holy Spirit doesn’t allow me to shrug this off. So I Google Ethiopia and famine and read news article after news article about the years of drought and current famine invading Africa with its friends starvation and death.

I go to work to hear from the CEO that we are there helping, and I’m proud that we are in the middle of this crisis — but I’m ashamed of myself.

I may be a city girl and I may never grow a vegetable in my life, but this does not excuse me of pride that ignores my sponsored son’s request for prayer support for something so important in his life, in his country, in his family’s survival. May God forgive me of my arrogance.

Learn from my lesson. Always pray for the requests your sponsored children and students send you. Especially when they don’t make sense. Especially when you think you know better. Especially because they ask.

20 Comments |Add a comment

  1. KW November 14, 2014

    The boy I sponsor always asks me to pray for his mother’s safety. I’ve often wondered just what he has in mind, and what she may need to be kept safe from…

    1. Susan Sayler November 17, 2014

      Hi KW! I can see how that could be concerning! I am sending you an email with all of the information that we have about your sponsored child. Please don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any further questions or concerns.

  2. Di B October 25, 2011

    How often do we neglect the power of heartfelt prayer? We explain that we are “too tired” or are not sure what to pray. But God will use our prayers – as James said, because HE knows what is needed. Amongst all the distractions of our busy lives, we need to make time to pray. Thankyou for reminding us to commit our children to Him daily, in prayer.

  3. James October 20, 2011

    I have had a request for prayer from one of the children and it was to pray for her health. She has said this on about three of her letters. In my simple mind I attempted to rationalize what could be wrong with her that she would need prayer for health. I was drawing conclusion based on her age(15) and a picture. I was so simple in my thought process. I don’t need to know what her situation is to pray for her…the Lord can handle that part without me knowing. I try to pray for them each night during my prayer time…and especially the special request prayers.

  4. Sharon Hoffman October 20, 2011

    Thank you for the reminder to pray for our sponsored children as they pray for us. I have pondered the blessing it is to have these kids praying for us. Only eternity will tell what these prayers meant in our lives.

    1. Gail October 23, 2011

      Won’t that be exciting – sharing with our kids in heaven and seeing how their prayers for us and our prayers for them impacted life, heaven and maybe even nations! Wow! Love that thought 🙂

  5. Gail October 19, 2011

    Thanks James 🙂

  6. James October 19, 2011

    I enjoyed reading your comment and the positive steps you took to correct your state of mind. We often take things for granted and just brush them aside when we think they are not worth our time and effort. Thanks for listening to the Lord and the prayer request from our Christian sisters and brothers in need. James -US military in Germany and proud sponsor of 6. Be blessed.

    1. Mark K. Term October 19, 2011

      I agree with James and can I say we all thank you for your service and pray for you to come home safely.

  7. Maria October 18, 2011

    We can take things for granted and we often forget to pray in thanks to our Lord. We can never pray enough. Spreading the word about World Food Day and IDEP. Check it out!

  8. Jill Foley ~ Compassion Family October 18, 2011

    Thank you for this. I don’t doubt that they are praying for me -every single day – yet many days have passed when I have not prayed for them. I’ve gotten more intentional about this in the past few months…made some prayer cards with info about each child we sponsor. Info about their country, their family and then as specific requests come in, I can write them on the card.

    1. Gail October 23, 2011

      What a great idea Jill! Thanks for sharing it with us 🙂

  9. Jill smith October 18, 2011

    convicting. I am so very blessed and don’t even remember it half the time.

    1. Gail October 18, 2011

      I have my kids pictures on my walls at work and at home and I still don’t pray for them enough. The best prompt to pray is the Holy Spirit. Any prayer is better than none.

  10. evelyn james October 18, 2011

    its true what happening,it pains lets pray for these angels

  11. Julie Allen October 18, 2011

    Amen sister. I am guilty of forgetting and not paying attention, for arrogance caused by the ease and “wealth” that my family and I possess. Prayers for Ethiopia and Kenya, for Rwanda and my sponsored child whose family farms, for her as she nears completion of her education and hopes that she can get further education or job training.

  12. Beth Luebke October 18, 2011

    I used to think these prayer requests were so generic. Praying for the health of the family seemed obvious until one day I got a letter that said “My mother had a heart attack but she is better now. She isn’t completely recovered, so please pray for her.” When I looked at previous letters that I’d saved, he’d been asking for prayers for his mother’s health. It was just one little line that I missed so easily the first time around, though I do remember praying for health of the family, I wish I could say that I specifically lifted his mother’s health up to the Lord.

    At first, I thought it had been generic but now I see that maybe this was a very, very specific thing going on that I couldn’t see and couldn’t know about but that bothered him. Gail, thanks for the reminder and now, I really will ensure that I am taking the time to specifically pray in agreement with the prayer requests of my sponsored children.

    1. Gail October 18, 2011

      It can be hard to read between the lines when all you get is a general please pray for health. The awesome thing about God is that HE knows what the health issues are and we can pray without that knowledge and He will still answer.

  13. Danae October 18, 2011

    I needed this today! I think you were headed straight to my heart with this one!

    1. Gail October 18, 2011

      Yeah, I needed this conviction a little while ago too and will probably need to read this again in a year or so. It’s challenged me in my prayers for my kids and hopefully all our prayers will be more effective and fervant now.

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