“I’ve been praying for you for fifty years,” said the elderly woman. My friend Lou looked into her eyes with profound gratitude. He was visiting the Bulgarian village that his father grew up in and left as a teenager. The woman, a believer in Jesus, lived next to his grandparents. She began to pray for Lou as soon she heard about his birth a continent away.  Now, over half a century later, he was visiting the village on a business trip, and while there he spoke to a group about his faith. Lou hadn’t become a believer in Jesus until he was almost thirty, and when this woman approached him after he spoke, he wondered about the impact her persistent prayers had made on his coming to faith.

We’ll never know the full effect of our prayers this side of heaven. But Scripture gives us this counsel: “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful” (Colossians 4:2). When Paul penned those words to believers in the small city of Colossae, he also asked for prayer himself so that God would “open a door” for his message wherever he went (v. 3).

Sometimes we may think, I don’t have the spiritual gift of prayer. But of all of the spiritual gifts listed in the Bible, prayer isn’t among them. Perhaps this is because God longs for each of us to pray faithfully, so that we may see what only He can do.

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