Grow your heart by praying for strangers

I’m currently reading Praying for Strangers by River Jordan. What an amazing, life-changing book! In it, she writes about her offer to pray for strangers every day of the year. Some of her chance encounters are amazing, and really aren’t by “chance” as you look at them in retrospect.

I like to pray for folks. You may have noticed that. Just read these series of prayer posts to read my prayers, see others and their requests, and find bits and pieces of redemption rooted there.

One story that stays fresh in my mind is the time I prayed for a pizza delivery man.

The date? March 11, 2003. I nearly finished my first novel, The Quarryman’s Wife, so I was in the “zone,” a bit oblivious to everything and everyone around me. That night a man came to the door with a pizza that we ordered (because I had been writing most of the day and didn’t get dinner cooked.) He looked entirely disheveled and upset. As I looked into his eyes, I felt God ask me to pray for him. I battled briefly with God’s unction, but then decided it was always better to obey the Holy Spirit’s prompting than to ignore it. “Are you okay?” I asked him.

He spoke in broken English, said he’d had a bad day as tears wet his eyes. I asked if I could pray for him, and he agreed. I laid my hand on his shoulder and prayed for the man. I took the pizza. He asked my name.

“Mary,” I said.

He smiled. “That’s the perfect name,” he said, then left.

We ate our pizza, then I typed the last chapter and wrote, “The End.”

That night in the comfort of bed and nearing sleep, the Lord said to me so clearly, “The most significant thing you did today was pray for the pizza man.” I’d written and finished my first novel, but God valued my obedience to pray far more. That lesson still clings to me.

Praying for the pizza man enlarged my heart. It reminded me that people walk this earth broken and needy, and often all they need is a small reminder that God sees them, He’s mindful of their pain. Our prayers lessen others’ pain, and as we pray, we lessen ours too. Our hearts grow when we move beyond our self-centered lives and intersect the needs of others.

What about you? What cool “pizza man” stories do you have? I’d love to hear them. Or, answer this: how does this post convict you? Encourage you?

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