"Prayer Helps Me See Better"

"Ploy" was happy to have me pray for her, but when I lifted my head at the end, I felt slightly apologetic for praying so long. “Wow, you have a lot of things to pray about,” I said. 

“It's nice to have someone pray for a long time. It's been a long time since someone has,” she replied. 

Just like that, I saw her anew. In both my prayer and in her response, I saw her. I saw what she holds; her fragile mother, her little boy, her daughter who lives with her paternal grandma, her husband’s other little boy. Her debt and the troubles in her marriage these past few months. That’s all she needed, for someone to stop and see. We all want to be seen. 

I’ve not really understood prayer too much. Sometimes I think that prayer is for fruit, and I feel I'm supposed to pray in order for God to work and our ministry to be fruitful—but He works whether I pray or not. Lately, though, I’ve realized that prayer helps me to see better. God asks us to pray because He wants conversations. He wants connections. He knows that when we pray, we experience a little of that. When we pray, we process, we invest, we think, and we see in new ways. Sometimes we might even see with God—see what He sees. Do I dare to say that? To believe that I can fathom or experience the thoughts of God, or that He wants me to think about stuff and draws me into prayer? 

My mom prayed long prayers, and sometimes I would get so sleepy. My children once timed me and claimed I prayed for nine minutes. None of that is true (😉) but I suppose I’ve inherited some of my mom’s earnest heart. These days, my adult children live too far away to time my prayers, but I find I am constantly praying a kind of breathing prayer over them. As full as my life is, they are always in my mind. I worry, or wonder, or feel proud of them—and I think those thoughts are prayers too. These thoughts and these prayers keep my heart connected and keep my mom-heart whole. When I was a young adult, my dad would tell me and my siblings that he prayed for us all the time, I really didn’t believe him because I didn’t pray that way. But now I realize he was speaking the truth. He still prays for us. 

Here in Bangkok, I have many chances to see and connect with my prayers. I know 25-year-olds who carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. One has three children and their father is in jail. On top of that, she keeps an eye on a couple of other kids too. She works and believes that there will be something different for her children, but she also needs to know she is seen now, today. Another is a single mom who not only has to consider her special needs daughter when she budgets her money, but also her aging grandma and her incarcerated little brother. A tiny family in need of some long prayers. 

I need prayers and connections too, of course. I occasionally send out personal notes—emailed yells for help—and ask for prayer. I write these newsletters too, to remind you again, one more time, that we are here and need y’all to be remembering and praying. Thank you for your prayers. I am very grateful. 

Your prayers, notes, gifts, and calls remind me that we are not alone. We are seen. We also are able to be present for others, and see them, people who would otherwise be alone with no knowledge of Jesus Christ. Thank you for that. 

I want to see you too, to add you to my long and short prayers. Please reply to let me know how to pray for you.

Judy (and Jim, too.)

Ways to Pray

  • We're planning a trip to visit the U.S. this fall. We hope to be able to see many of the friends and family we haven't seen in 2019. If you'd like to try to connect, please send us a note! 
  • Please pray for guidance and safety as we make plans and travel. Vaccines are finally more available here and we hope to be able to start a series before we fly. We also need a kind bureaucrat to renew Beow's (AKA Nathan) passport promptly.
  • For health and well-being for our team and community during the current COVID-19 surge in Thailand, and for justice and mercy for the many poor and vulnerable who are disproportionally affected by the crisis.
To support Team Larson financially, visit servantworks.com/donate and designate "Team Larson." Thank you for all you do to support us.

We love hearing from you. You can reply to this email, or email Jim at jlarson@servantworks.com and Judy at judy.e.larson@gmail.com.
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