Praying for others is our sacred, solemn assignment; not to be taken lightly or abandoned before heaven’s response. Prayer is so many things and many times a friend just needs to know someone else is on duty whispering their heart’s desires with agreement.
Sometimes this prayer, this intercession, takes on a completely different form; physically interceding or standing in the gap with faith to exercise power on behalf of someone else.
When I intercede, I’m standing in my position in the family of God, asking God to show himself strong on behalf of someone else, in the same way he shows himself strong for me.
In the same way. With the same vigor. With the same mercy. With the same grace. With the same intention.
A story if you please.
Finances weren’t easy for this 40-year-old seminary student until I received scholarship funds for the Urban Ministry program I was in at Wesley Theological Seminary. I loved this school. I have to tell you that I even shouted when I read the catalog and knew from that point that it was exactly the right place for me.
During the more difficult days, I was summoned to the dean of students’ office for consultation. My tuition was behind. I was attending classes although I really wasn’t allowed during this time. The dean asked a few questions about my situation and suggested that perhaps this wasn’t the right time for me to be in school since the funds didn’t seem to be available. It was that question that sparked a passionate reply that grabbed the dean’s attention. If there was anything I was sure of that day, it was that I was in exactly the right place at the right time. It was exactly what God had ordained for me for that season of my life. And I knew it because of the breath of new life I was enjoying since I’d enrolled and begun classes.
One of the things I loved about Wesley was its instructors. Some of them were quite intellectual and full of information. They weren’t the touchy feely kind who made you want to spend time with them over meals. Some of them were so well traveled and well read that they were a touch foreboding – great teachers nevertheless.
What I loved about them, young and old, was that eventually you would meet Jesus in each of them. What that means for a Black Baptist is that at some point their tenderness for their Savior became evident in the middle of a lesson, without warning and with infectious joy. And that was always a glorious moment.
The dean said to me, once we found common ground, “I’ll go with you to talk to [the financial director],” and I put on my big girl pants and said I could do it on my own. The goal was to arrange payments I could actually make. She stood a little taller as she said to me, “But if I go and speak to him, it’ll make a difference.” That has stayed with me for more than 20 years.
If I go…If I ask…it should make a difference. And that kind of confidence should rest in each of our hearts. That it will make a difference if I ask because of my relationship with the Lord. You know how little kids do it. “You want me to ask my Daddy to get you the ice cream? He’ll do it!”
“My Daddy will do it. My Daddy will take you. My Daddy will protect you.”
Isn’t that the spirit of a child? Isn’t that why we’re told to come to the kingdom of God as little children? If I ask…
We went to the office of the financial director and the dean merely stood in the doorway. She said, “I’m bringing Rev. Dorothy Boulware to you. Perhaps you two can work something out that will bring her into good standing with the school.”
And she left.
And he asked if I could possibly pay $20 a month until I was caught up.
Are you kidding me? I tried to contain my excitement and not jump up and down as if I were a little child. But I felt like a little child and I wanted to jump. But I maintained my professionalism in spite of wanting to yell, “Are you kidding me? All day long I can pay it!” And all was well. Because that day, in that moment of decision, that could have cost me a degree, somebody prayed for me.