“I’ll be praying for you.”

Old Man Praying

This monochromatic pencil and ink sketch is so simple, yet poignant. The old man’s altar is an unimpressive piece of furniture—nothing grand or ornate. He doesn’t need a church altar or padded pew. The humility depicted in this scene may be the reason it feels intimate. In solitude and without fanfare, a faithful man talks with his God. We can only speculate what he may be praying about.

Often, as a pastor, I am asked to pray for people. I am humbled and honored to do it. It is a holy task to pray for another.

I never really knew my grandma. Her name was Esta and she died when I was six. The few memories I have of her are precious. Once she bought me a wicker purse and I instantly loved it. And I loved it even more when I opened it up only to find it stuffed with big orange candy circus peanuts. Remember those? I haven’t seen them around in a while.

When I was an adult, my sisters and I collected my grandmother’s poetry and artwork and put them in a book. While doing this, we realized that we, her grandchildren, were frequently the subject of her prayers. She prayed for our future, and even though she didn’t get to see how we turned out, it was meaningful to know that she thought enough of us to pray for a future she would not be a part of.

In John, we are told that before he was arrested, Jesus looked toward heaven and prayed. This isn’t unusual, Jesus prayed often. But what makes this notable is the subject of his prayers—us. Future believers in him. Isn’t it meaningful that, on the night before he was to face tremendous pain and persecution, Jesus took the time to pray for us? The Creator and Savior of the world said a prayer for me.

Being Human connection: Think of how meaningful it is when someone says they are praying for you. How much more meaningful is it when we remember that we have been prayed for by Jesus himself.  Like the line in one of my favorite hymns: “What wondrous love is this, oh my soul, oh my soul?”

Featured image: Vincent Van Gogh, “Old Man Praying,” 1882