serving others with prayer

Written by Amy L. Sullivan

SERVE Editor Word lover. Book devourer. Music addict. Amy is a Northern girl who found herself living in the South. She drinks sweet tea, turns her nose up at okra, and attempts to tell her daughters "yella" isn't a color.

January 3, 2013

serving others. prayer

In the book, Praying for Strangers, River Jordan discusses her ambitious New Year’s resolution. Jordan commits to pray for a complete stranger every day for an entire year.

Jordan takes readers with her as she encounters a variety of people: a bruised teen, angry mother, homeless man, hotel maid, young farm hand, and a cast of other unique individuals. Daily, Jordan learns names, hears stories, and prays for people she doesn’t know.

As I read about the strangers Jordan meets, I lounge in chair at a mega bookstore. My chair is one of five cushy chairs lined-up in front of three, over-sized tables. Facing me is another row of five, identical cushy chairs. Each chair contains a person. I am situated among nine other people, and without looking up, I am certain of one thing; I have no idea what any of the people who I’m surrounded by look like.

I try to quiz myself. Surely, I remember a face or some small detail about the strangers who surround me. I have spent over an hour in the same chair, but sadly, I recall nothing.

I look up, and an imaginary fog lifts. The once blurry bodies take on faces and expressions.

One chair over from me sits a young woman. Her hands tightly grip the book she is reading, and entwined in her fingers, she holds a crumpled tissue. Her posture is rigid and her eyes look watery.

I pretend to grab something out of my purse so I can peek at her book. It’s about divorce. Minutes later, two kids wander up to her. They want to go home. The woman nods, lays the book on the coffee table, and leaves.

For the rest of the day, I think of the woman. What’s her story?

It doesn’t matter.

I just pray.


  1. Lisa Van Engen

    Beautiful Amy. Another good book to pick up 🙂 It’s powerful to think about how we can intercede for strangers and know God hears those prayers.

    • Amy L. Sullivan

      This is a good book. The author seems funny…like someone you would be friends with in real-life, you know?

  2. Shelly Miller

    You made me realize how much I do this. Observe people and then pray for them. I didn’t really even think about it that much until you just made me aware of it. Hmmm, and thank you.

    • Amy L. Sullivan

      No thank you for praying. What an amazing way to serve those we don’t know.

  3. Jody Collins

    Amy–I had a chance to read that book when it came out and struck up a ‘friendship’ of sorts with Ms. Jordan by sending her an email about a page that was missing from her book. She was thrilled I pointed it out, lucky for me. She dropped by my blog when I started it and left a comment. I was overjoyed.

    • Amy L. Sullivan

      How fun! Love that Jordan visited you.

      The same sort of thing happened to me….only think really embarrassing! I was reading a book by Mary Demuth, and I called myself a stalker. I had no idea how the Internet worked. Anyway, guess who stopped by my blog. Ugh. You got it. Good ‘old MD herself. I was mortified!

  4. pastordt

    This is just a gem of a small story, Amy. Thank you for it.

  5. Lori McClure

    I need this because I’m a pro at not being intentionally present. I can be so scattered. I’ll be paying more attention. I can always offer prayers. That much I can do 🙂

    • Amy L. Sullivan

      Intentionally being present, yes. Oh wait, what were you saying again? Ha. Obviously something I struggle with too!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

serving others with prayer

by Amy L. Sullivan time to read: 2 min