Daily Devotion: Praying for Strangers

A woman discovers that there’s no such thing as strangers when it comes to those for whom you pray.

By Karen Barber

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I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people. 1 Timothy 2:1

At a dinner party, I finally had a chance to speak to my hostess’s grandson who was briefly in town after returning from his second deployment to Afghanistan. Unbeknownst to the young soldier, I had been praying for him for over three years on my daily prayer walk at a certain spot where there’s a small maple tree. I called it his tree.

In the fall, when the leaves turned vivid yellow, I carried one home and pressed it in my Bible. In the hot summer, when the leaves brought refreshing shade, I thought about the young soldier serving in a hot, rugged land.

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As seasons passed, I prayed through the many seasons of a soldier’s life: when his unit was in a terrible battle and one of his close buddies was killed in action; when he met a young woman at his stateside base, fell in love, and got married; when he deployed again and had to leave his new wife and their adorable baby.

I approached the young man, thinking, Because I’ve been praying for him,I feel closely connected to him.  But he doesn’t even know my name.  Do the prayers of strangers really matter? I introduced myself and mentioned that I had been praying for him every day.

“That really means a lot,” he replied. “One day when I was deployed and feeling down, I Googled my name and found out that a woman I didn’t even know in Alabama had posted online that she was praying for me! I couldn’t believe that people I didn’t know cared.”

I gave the soldier a hug, thankful that there’s no such thing as strangers when it comes to those for whom you pray.

Dear Father, help me to faithfully serve You and Your big wide world by praying for at least one person I don’t know. Amen.