No handbook on daily Christian works ~ Applied Christianity~ would be complete without concentrating on the
special work for which God has prepared certain special people - the bedfast. And of the bedfast, perhaps those of
you who do not have the use of your hands but are paralyzed or disabled in some similar way, are the most prepared.
Why call it prepared? Because prayer takes time. First Thessalonians 5:17 says that we should give ourselves to
prayer, pray without ceasing. You who are bedfast come closest to fulfilling this earnest admonition than anyone else
in the world. You are needed so very much. You have that special gift of time with which God has blessed you.
Think of Anna who had spent probably 60 years in the temple devoting herself to fasting and prayer, both night
and day (Luke 2:36,37). Certainly there is just as much need for prayer for the world today as there was then. Has
God "called" you to devote yourself to prayer? Romans 8:28 declares, "And we know that in all things God works for
the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." Those of you who are physically
disabled God has called for a specific purpose. I sincerely believe that purpose is prayer.
Jesus said in Matthew 6:6, "When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is
unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." Although Jesus was warning us not to
pray to show off in front of others, he was also saying that we need to take the time to go into that inner room and
close the door.
Perhaps some of us had a greater potential within ourselves of Christian fulfillment in the realm of prayer than any
other work there was available to us. But we could not stop all our bustling around, and we could not go into that inner
room and close our door. So God stopped the bustling for us, and God escorted us to that inner room and shut the
door for us. Now with no physical activity we may do, we can concentrate on this gigantic need that we were too busy
for before ~ prayer.
Walter Robinson once expressed it this way: Private prayer is our refuge from troubles. High above the beating
waves,and near heaven, it is our fortress. What sometimes would become of us, if we might not shut the door upon
mankind, and find repose in our Father's bosom? The afflicted Christian, entering his citadel, says, like persecuted
David, 'I give myself unto prayer.' You, who know all, and change never, are on my side. If I grieve any, I would not
grieve you. I would not make you my enemy. I would retain your favor. Oh my Almighty Friend, say unto my soul, I am
your salvation. Heavenly Father, your smile invigorates me. I am glad and safe when I hear your voice.
James further encouraged, "Therefore confess your sin to each other and pray for each other so that you may be
healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective" (5:16).
Before sharing with you who you can minister unto with your prayers, think of all those people saying to you
through the words of Alfred Lord Tennyson: Pray for my soul. More things are wrought by prayer than this world
dreams of. Wherefore, let your voice rise like a fountain for me night and day. For what are men better than sheep or
goats that nourish a blind life within the brain, if knowing God, they lift not hands of prayer both for themselves and
those who call them friend? For so the whole round earth is every way bound by gold chains about the feet of God.
As you begin, send word to your brothers and sisters in your congregation that you wish to pray for them and
those souls they are trying to help. Also, ask someone to write letters for you to any missionaries you know of in this
regard. Then, as prayer requests come to you, have someone put up a list on a wall or anything else convenient for
you to see. Your list will change as time goes by and as various answers come from God, so keep this in mind when
having your list put up. Have plenty of room, for very quickly you will have hundreds of names ~ hundreds of souls
saying, "Pray for me."
Do not get discouraged praying for anyone, for God works out these things just at the right time. It may take
years praying for some ~ five, ten, twenty, forty. Can anyone afford to give up praying for someone during the time it
takes? Whose soul is worth giving up on? Yes we ask, "Why does it take so long for some answers?" One answer is
found in Daniel 10.
Daniel had just prophesied the coming of the Savior. Then trouble came up in the kingdom where he lived,
Persia. Daniel prayed and fasted 21 days. On the 24th day the Lord appeared to him and said, Since the first
day...your words were heard. He explained that Michael the angel, one of the chief princes helped him fight the prince
of the Persian kingdom and finally won on the 21st day.
Ephesians 6:12 further explains the princes or principalities: For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but
against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in
high places (KJV). Hebrews 1:14 states, Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit
salvation? And remember who Michael is. Jude 9 says he is an archangel, and Revelation 12:7 refers to Michael and
his angels fighting against the dragon (Satan) and his angels (princes/demons).
To put all this together, we see that the princes (angels) Daniel told about were the angels ministering to the
righteous as well as the angels (demons) helping the unrighteous. Apparently, while we are struggling against
unrighteousness on earth, we have ministering angels who fight just as long as we do - no more and no less. And
that, my dear fellow Christian, is why we need to keep praying and keep praying. God hears us on the first day. It isn't
that he is trying to see how long we can hold out with our prayers for something. It is because our prayers are a
source of strength to heavenly principalities. Apparently, as long as we pray, our ministering angels keep fighting evil
until the answer can come.
God does not work in this world by suddenly changing events. Things have to take their natural course. People
are not living in Wyoming one minute, and in Norway the next. It takes God time to rearrange people's lives so that all
things are aimed in the same direction and come together at the same point in space and time to answer a single
Perhaps the person you are praying for will receive help in another city by a person who does not live there and
indeed may not even be born yet and whose parents aren't even married yet. See how complicated things can get to
answer your prayer? Our amazing God can work all these things out for millions of people all at the same time, and
use his angels (our ministering servants) to carry it out. He can even keep all the prayers of all the millions of people
sorted out and juggled and not bumping into each other so one doesn't interfere with the other. That's mind boggling!
Only God could do this! So, we need to keep praying until he gets things worked out and never give up.
The following comments are both for you who will be concentrating in prayer on various needs and works of the
church, and for those who come to you for this help. Various Bible scriptures pertaining to those in need of prayer are
cited to help you concentrate on the mind of God and God's ways in these matters. You probably know of others.
Memorize them, or ask someone to read them on a tape recorder to be played to you before your prayers. These are
not one-way conversations. God has things to tell you regarding various circumstances in life and they will help you
know how to pray for them.
The first thing that comes to the minds of most people praying for the needs of others is for lost souls to be
saved. Your prayer list will overflow with these people. You will not know most of them. But you can name them by
name; God knows who they are.
Those who are trying to convert these people should watch for some physical problem to enter their lives and
stand prepared for it. This is not always true, but in so many cases a physical problem is the only thing that will make
some people stop and think about God and their spiritual problem, their eternal destiny. People may not start out very
religious, but they still say in time of trouble, "God, why me? Why did you have to make this happen if you are so good
like they say?" Now this is not a very righteous prayer, but it is a beginning of communication with God. And it is often
God's way of shutting the door in their lives and forcing them to think about him. Their thoughts may not be very good
thoughts about God, but they are at least thinking about him. Christians near to these people need to be nearby to
explain this to them.
Fallen Christians are another subject of concern. They are often very difficult to work with due to resentments
and apathy. They need your earnest prayers, for their state in judgment will be worse than those who never learned
the truth (2 Peter 2:20-22). Often the fallen Christian will return to God in like circumstances as the non-Christian -
grave illness, death in the family, material failure of some sort. Hebrews 12:5-11 helps us understand what is
happening to them:
And you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, "My sons, do not regard lightly the
discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by him; for those whom the Lord loves he disciplines, and he
scourges every son whom he receives." It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what
son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers,
then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected
them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as
seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. All disciplines for the moment
seem not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterward it yields the peaceful fruit of
Then there are those in trouble with the law ~ whether children or adults. Perhaps they have just been caught
with drugs, or arrested for drunk driving or theft. Whatever their problem, it seems that most people in trouble either
wake up to what they are doing to themselves and those around them when the first "awakening shock" comes; or else
much later when they are at the bottom of the pit so to speak.
If a person turns from self-destructive actions right away, rejoice! If they do not, but get worse and worse,
remember, those whom the Lord loves he disciplines (Hebrews 12:6a). Do not become discouraged and give up on
them, for the Bible promises, "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is
patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9).
Another obvious person we think of to pray for is the sick. You who are bedfast have first-hand knowledge and
the deepest of understanding of the ill. You may feel a twinge of envy over someone who is not as sick as you and
who will probably get well soon. But let us turn it around. The ill who know you realize you are physically worse than
they. You can now give them the choice of thinking, "I sure am glad I'm not as bad off as she, for she is absolutely
miserable." Or they can observe you and think, "She is physically worse off than I, but her spiritual health and strength
are so far above mine, her disposition is so good despite her physical problems. If she can do it, so can I!"
Somewhat related to praying for the sick is praying for those who need to overcome personal problems. It may be
that they have a drinking problem, or there was the death of a loved one they cannot accept, a heart-rending divorce,
loss of a job, or some similar problem over which a person feels little or no control. Pray for them. They feel weak and
unable to solve their problem. They are depressed because of their weakness. They've gotten so they don't care to
even try anymore "because it won't do any good anyway."
For those who have a problem that cannot be changed, we need to remember 2 Corinthians 12:8-10: Three
times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power
is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power
may rest in me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in
difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
It is only when we say, "Lord, I cannot go on like this. I cannot face life any longer. I am so tired. I cannot try any
longer," that the Lord can step in and say, "I know, my child; so if you will let me live in you, we will walk together
through the rest of your life and my strength will keep you going." Jesus said....
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn
from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden
is light" (Matthew 11:28-30). When we cannot carry our load any longer, we willingly give it to Jesus who wanted it all
along. In exchange he gives us his load, his work to do, and it is "easy" and "light".
For those who have a problem that can be changed but about which they say, "I've tried and tried, and I cannot
overcome it, so why try any more?" they need your prayers also. It is only when a person admits, "I can't," that s/he is
willing to listen to God who can. "For nothing is impossible with God" (Luke 1:37). Philippians 4:13 reassures, "I can
do everything through him who gives me strength."
God loves that one with the personal problem, and probably much more than that person loves himself. They
probably think that no one ~ even God ~ could love them like they are. But let us keep in mind Romans 8:31-39:
If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all - how will he
not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? ...Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble
or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? ...No, in all these things we are more than
conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,
neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be
able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Yes, through their Lord, they can conquer. Jesus understands what they are going through. "For we do not have
a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way,
just as we are ~ yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive
mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need" (Hebrews 4:15,16).
So do pray patiently and earnestly for those who have problems in their lives that they need to overcome. They
are miserable, and they feel so little love. Pray that they will not be tempted beyond what they can endure, and will be
able to see the way of escape, as God promised in 1 Corinthians 10:13.
Pray for missionaries. Most missionaries go to the field before they are old enough to be elders. Therefore, most
of them are working without the presence, encouragement, and wisdom of older men ~ elders ~ and their wives. Add
to this the fact that they are in a country with different customs and usually different language, and the pressures can
be great. They face either apathy or persecution. And there aren't very many there to encourage them.
It is very difficult to stand alone. But many men and women of faith did just that in the Old Testament days, "who
through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions,
quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength"
Next, pray for all elders, deacons, preachers and teachers, and especially those in your own congregation since
you know them personally. The elders have such a tremendous responsibility as leaders of God's family on earth.
They are responsible foreseeing that the word of God is not changed in any way, in word or deed, and that each
Christian in their "flock" follow God's word so that their souls will be saved (Acts 20:28-31). They are responsible for
the teachers, the work of the deacons, and the material needs of the congregation (Acts 6:1-4). They are called on by
the sick for special prayer (James 5:14,15). They will be held responsible at Judgement for all souls under them
Sometimes the pressures are monumental for church leaders, and indeed too much to bear alone without God.
And knowing that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), we should pray that they will
grow stronger in Christ and never fall, as Paul warned that some would do (Acts 20:18-31).
Pray also for the leaders of the local, state and national governments around the world. I urge, then, first of all,
that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone - for kings and all those in authority, that
we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness (1 Timothy 2:1,2). Remember, this was written during
the times of the tremendous persecution of the early Christians, around the time Nero burned Rome. No king or ruler
is too bad to pray for.
Pray for your congregation as a whole that the Christians will get along with each other. Pride causes division.
The apostle Paul said that anyone who claims to be in the light but hates his brother is still in the darkness (1 John
No one intends to show pride and to hate a brother or sister. If you asked a person if they were showing hate or
have pride, s/he would probably reply, "No, I am just trying to show the others how to do it best, and they are the ones
who hate me. After all, I am concerned that as many souls be saved as possible." Another cause of unrealized hatred
is resenting others in the congregation because they do not love enough, they do not show enough Christian concern,
etc. The resenter in the process becomes the unloving person. Romans 12:9-18 explains proper brotherly love and
ends with If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.
Pray for people's enemies, and for God's enemies. You cannot pray for an enemy and continue to resent him or
her. Jesus introduced this new principle in his famous Sermon on the Mount, Matthew 5:43-45.
You have heard that it was said, "Love your neighbor and hate your enemy." But I tell you: Love your enemies
and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on
the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you do not pray for these enemies, who
will? Not very many, I fear.
Last on your list is thanksgivings. Thank God for answering your prayers, for sending you his Son and salvation,
for the church, for your family, for your material blessings, for his wonderful world with all its blessings, for modern
medical knowledge. Just count your blessings one at a time and you will be amazed and humbled with gratitude.
If possible, send a note periodically to people you are praying for. If you do not have anyone available who could
write all these notes personally, you may wish to have some printed up, or even have some business-card-size cards
printed up with a little message, "I cannot write, but I did want you to know that I can pray and I have been praying for
you." Then give your name, address and phone number, and possibly a scripture such as Pray continually (1
Thessalonians 5:17). These people will be strengthened just by the knowledge that someone cares enough for them
to spend time along praying for them.
You may wish to get an attachment for your telephone so you can talk on a loud speaker sitting on a table near
you. Then, in this way, people can also call you and tell you how things are going. If your voice is strong enough,
perhaps you could pray with that person right there on the phone.
Yes, you can spend hours and hours every day in prayer for God's work here on earth. In fact, you may wish to
divide up your day and have a lost souls hour, a missionaries hour, an enemies hour, and so on. Naturally, you will
need to rest during the day also. But in between rest periods, you can work out a system to be sure to cover everyone
possible during your day. The blessings you receive as a result will be overwhelming to you, to those around you, and
to everyone for whom you pray. All those you know will say, Who knows but that you have come...for such a time as
this (Esther 4:14b).