I recently listened to a sermon series that really gave me pause. The sermon series was entitled “I want names”. The series was about prayer — but focused on the need for making our prayers much more personal than we normally do
Larry the Cable Guy does a running gag in which he asks the Lord to forgive him for some off-color, or inappropriate joke or comment and he follows this facetious request with “and bless all the pygmies in Africa” or some other generic request of that type. It is funny in an uncomfortable way because it hits too close to home in many cases.
We tend to pray generically — asking God to bless the sick, the missionaries, those traveling, our servicemen, our government leaders…..
But who are they? Do we really know for whom we are praying and why?
Can you list the first names of those who are your 5 closest neighbors?
Can you list the names of the missionaries your church supports? Not just the country or people group — the missionary’s name.
Even more troubling — how many of us can list 5 people who have no church connection and are need to a saving relationship with Jesus?
I struggle with the questions above myself. The sermon series nags at me. I’d like to move on and not listen to it again. But as I sit here in the coffee shop I look around the room and hear God’s voice….. ” I want names. When you pray. I want names.”