A Guest Post By Ron Simkins
In the interest of transparency I will begin with a few disclosures. First, I am the brother of Mary Ann who oversees this ministry. Second, I belong to a church community that has supported this ministry financially for many years. Third, my wife and I have also been financial supporters through the years. Fourth, although people have praised me for quite a few things throughout life, sometimes deservedly and often not so much, no one has ever accused me of being a great prayer warrior. Fifth, to my shame, I have always thought of praying on the phone for people who don’t know you, and who you don’t know, as a bit strange. This in spite of the fact that several brothers and sisters who I know and love take this ministry extremely seriously and lose sleep to make it happen. Sixth, it never occurred to me until recently that the FaithPrayers ministry is an expression of something that is very important to me when I reflect on what followers of Jesus are called to be and do.
You are probably thinking—“Well, duh! Of course, we are called to prayer.” But, although I am working regularly toward a deeper and better prayer life, that is not what I am talking about. I am talking about the fact that praying for others can very well be an extremely important act of both Justice and Mercy. This insight came to me recently as a personal revelation.
I was thinking, “Why would anyone call an 800 number to talk to someone they don’t know and ask for prayer? I would never do that!” At that moment I had an insight into what should have been obvious. Many people call because there is no one else in their lives to talk to and pray with—either no one period, or no one they can trust with what they need prayer for. I felt like the Lord brought this thought to my mind: “You are always complaining about people who cannot see past their own privilege in the areas of race, wealth, education, gender and nationality. Well, in this area you really are blinded by your privileged life. Let me open your eyes so you can see.”
A number of years ago my close friend and confidant and I were discussing our desire to be supportive of a man who grew up without much family and lived much of his life on the streets. Not surprisingly, he was not an easy person. But my friend challenged us both by saying, “Everyone should have someone between them and no one.” That statement has been a guiding thought in my concern for mercy and justice through the years, but it had never before occurred to me to apply it to the ministry of FaithPrayers.
I have never had one moment in my life when people were not praying for me. My parents began before I was born and never stopped until their dying breaths. Friends of my family of origin, relatives, and church members who I did not even like prayed for me when as a young adult I wanted nothing to do with God or church and was busy wasting myself. As a young Bible College student, the elders of my church prayed for God’s gifts of teaching to be unleashed in my life at a time when I could not stand in front of a group without my knees quaking and my voice trembling. My current church community has had individuals that have prayed regularly for me and for the ministries I have been involved in all through my adult life and right into and continuing in my recent transition to my new phase of life (often called retirement). My small group members past and present pray for me. My wife has never stopped praying for me. My adult children and their mates pray for me. My sister and brother pray for me. My grandchildren pray for me. Friends from around the world occasionally remind me that they pray for me. I cannot even imagine how different my life might have been without all of these gifts of prayer offered to God on my behalf throughout my life.
FaithPrayers certainly cannot level the playing field when it comes to my privileged prayer support structure and the absence of such support in many people’s lives. But, FaithPrayers can offer a bit of God’s justice and mercy by ensuring that “Everyone can have someone that stands between them and no one” when it comes to prayer!
So—to those of you involved in the FaithPrayers ministry: I am praying for you to continue to be God’s justice and God’s mercy in a world that desperately needs more of it. The world is not just, but you make it a bit more so.
On the occasion of his recent retirement, Ron Simkins requested that instead of personal gifts, donations in his honor be made to the FaithPrayers Prayer Line. Thank you, Ron! Much appreciated!
Mary Ann Offenstein
Founder and Director of Operations
FaithPrayers National Prayer Line