“I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”
Fires, earthquakes, Presidential impeachments, Royal runaways and an election year…
Needless to say, our world is in need of prayer. Always. Like, the entire world. All the time.
So the other day I sat in prayer… attempting to simply and concisely convey the enormity of all of the situations and their urgency (you know- as if God was not already aware…), hoping I wouldn’t forget anything (praying actually I wouldn’t forget anything- or one).
My heart had a list.
As I sat there naming the various disasters and tensions currently being experienced around the world- I was also naming loved ones, acquaintances and faces that seemed to be lingering.
All the while a silent question forming.
And sometime after I had laid down- I woke up, the question having fully formed itself and apparently not willing to be put off until a decent daytime hour.
In my mind or heart or both- the question was whispered- which was most important, my prayers for the world or my prayers for the one?
The whole world, or one person? Don’t ask me why this question mattered, why something in me needed an answer.
I suppose it may have been because behind this question was the wonder, did God like some of my prayers better than others? Did He pay more attention to the “more important” ones verses the “Brittany is rattling on” ones?
Was there a “Top 5” and then He would put the others on a “waiting” or “consideration” list?
Because I mean honestly, I do that sometimes. Not with my prayers. But with my homework assignments. Books to read. Tasks to do.
There is a “Top 5” list and then there is the “if/ when I have time” list.
Laying there, one of J.R.R. Tolkien’s quotes came to mind, “Even the Smallest person can change the course of the future” and then the Parable of the Lost Sheep.
And just like that it seemed, in an instant, I understood.
The world needs our prayers.
But those prayers will be answered and carried out through human beings, individuals, coming together.
The world is not complete without the one.
Personally, I must say it seems a little less daunting, though no less urgent to pray for the one. Praying for the world is important. However, when we paint our big picture of the world with faces and names and heartbeats- well its not quite so difficult to put into words every urgent feeling-
A loving and overflowing plea. One word.
God, Move. Hold, Tell, Comfort, Encourage. I love them. You love them. Go and move.
As I read the Parable of the Lost sheep I realized that there is a reason Heaven rejoices over the one.
Through one the world fell into sin.
Through one the world was delivered and redeemed.
One has always had a major, world changing impact.
So no, some prayers are not more important than others. God does not listen to some more and others less. Do not limit your number of prayers out of worry that you may end up with “one to many” to make the cut.
Pray for the world and the one. And then the other one, and another one and every one. I quoted J.R.R. Tolkien above, a man who understood and played a major role in the life of one. A comrade he met through writing. A lifelong unbeliever, a proclaimed atheist- and from his own work he’d share proudly so. This one was to become one of his greatest friends. And one of, if not, the greatest Christian author of his time- C.S. Lewis.
And my friends, as you pray for the one, remember you are one. Your presence here is unique, your purpose unrivaled. No one can replace you. You have been purposefully and specifically created and sent for such a time as this. Heaven dances to see you awake every morning. They lean in close to hear what you have to say. And without you, our world is not complete.