I have yet to meet you, I do not know your name, even so, I pray for you six days a week.

Some time ago, I heard the news of a tragic death of a young person in our community. Upon hearing the name of the person, I did not know the family. When leaving my home that day, I saw several cars parked around a home I drive by six days a week. The cars spilled out of the driveway and were parked along the road, filling both sides of the street for quite some distance. There were people walking toward the home with food in their hands, faces downcast. The young person must have lived in this home. Upon this realization, my heart swelled in a huge ache that is hard to describe in words.

Even though this scene happened a while ago, each time I drive by this house, I pray for the family inside. Since I work in a church, I drive the same route Monday through Friday, and again on Sundays; these are the six days each week I pray. As a mom myself, I believe a mom’s heart cannot help but pang upon hearing about the loss of a child, no matter the age, for a child is always a child. Perhaps this is the reason why the suffering registers so deep.

“Lord, please comfort this family as they are literally walking through the valley of the shadow of death. Please grant them the comfort which passes all understanding. Please fill them up with Your strength, being their tower of refuge, strengthening them to mount up on wings like eagles.”

As time passed, the visiting cars became fewer and fewer, so I prayed all the more. This is a hard time period following the loss of a loved one…the quiet moments after the mourning events have slowed. As summer gave way to fall, the front door decor changed to a fall door hanging, then it changed to UGA football decor, then Christmas, and so on. With each change of the decor, I prayed. It is so hard to carry on following an untimely goodbye; so I cheered on this stranger-to-me-family each time there was a tangible change.

“Lord, thank You for granting this family the strength to carry on. Please be near to them with each “first”—each time a life-event happens without their loved one. Father, we will never know the ‘whys’ this side of heaven, so please help them to trust You all the more.”

It is not just this home I pray for as I drive, there are others too. For example, there is a home where there is now a wheel-chair ramp leading to the door.

“Lord, please be near to this family during this life change of adjusting, granting patience, endurance, and strength.”

For the home where two pink bows hung from the mailbox and where now two infant swings hang on the front porch,

“Lord thank you for new life! Please grant these new parents wisdom and allow their restful moments to feel multiplied!”

Praying over our neighbors is among the most important work we can do in our community. I can only hope that as I am praying for those around me, that someone is praying over my family. The Bible tells us to:

“cast our cares upon Him, for He cares for us” (1 Peter 5:7)

and God says:

“If My people, who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14).

     For these reasons and so many more, I will pray as I move about our community. Will you join me in doing so?