Intercessory Prayer by Pastor Laurie Barnes

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Mark 2:1-12 tells the story of the four friends who carried their paralyzed friend to Jesus for healing.  The biblical text doesn’t tell us the root cause of the paralysis – whether it was physical or emotional or spiritual.  Instead, the story stresses the faith of the four friends who had the love and took the time to carry their friend to Jesus.  Not only did they carry him across town to the place where Jesus was staying, they went up on the roof and dug through the roofing materials so that they could lower their friend down through the roof directly to the attention of Jesus. 

Recently at our Prayer Leadership Team retreat, we did an exercise from the Companions in Christ materials that involved a form of guided imagery.  As the leader read through the story, we paused often to silently visualize someone who we would like to carry to Jesus for healing.  As directed, we silently visualized who that person was and what  the obstacles were that we had to go through to get him/her to Jesus.  It was a very powerful exercise of intercessory prayer. 

Intercessory prayer is a gift of love that demonstrates that a person cares enough about his friend or family worker to carry them to Jesus.  Scripture tells us that Jesus is now our intercessor in heaven (Romans 8:34).  A caution about intercessory prayer is that it can be a considered a club by those who are at a different place in their faith journey.  At an earlier time in my life, I remember being offended when someone told me they were praying for me.  I saw their care as condemnation.  Now, I thank people profusely for praying for me and say “bring it on!”  I am finally at the point of realizing the great gift of love that intercessory prayer can be.

Who is on your stretcher today??

Laurie Barnes
Pastor of Prayer Ministry and Congregational Care

DEAP (Drop Everything And Pray)

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When my step-kids were in high school, their school had a program called DEAR which stood for “Drop everything and read.”  Several time periods a week would be designated as DEAR times and the kids would be given twenty minutes or so to put down what they were working on and just read a book or magazine for enjoyment.  Hopefully the reading skills of the kids were enhanced by this program.  It may also have helped develop a love of reading for kids who may not have been avid readers before.


For the past year or so, I have felt God’s tugging on my heart to become a DEAP person – a person who will “Drop everything and pray.” I desire to respond quickly and prayerfully whenever someone asks me to pray for them or lifts up a situation that is of great joy or great concern to them.  I do this because I feel that God is calling me to do it but hopefully my prayer skills are being enhanced by this lesson in obedience.  It also may help people to know that the church takes very seriously its amazing responsibility to pray on behalf of the people of God’s world. 


I want you to hold me accountable on this.  If you raise a prayer issue to me and I don’t respond as a DEAP person, remind me of my commitment to “Drop everything and pray.”


– Pastor Laurie Barnes

Appreciating the Written Word

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Recently I had the opportunity to spend time reading with grade school age children as part of Project Transformation at University UMC.  Some kids relished the half-hour time to read and couldn’t wait to turn the page of their book to discover what happened next.   Others squirmed and rolled their eyes and begged me to take a turn reading a page.  I came from that experience with a new appreciation for the blessing of the written word and for my parents and teachers that instilled a love of reading in me.  And I pray that Symphoni and Mary and Fong and Asia and Keith and all the rest of the kids come to a similar place of life-long appreciation for the written word.

I like to read at least three books at a time.  When I grow bored with one, I move seamlessly to the next.  The best prayer book that I am reading now is called The Beautiful Work of Learning to Pray by James C. Howell.  Short, meaty chapters.  Much to ponder. 

Consider the quote from Madeleine L’Engle: “Prayer is love and love is never wasted…” (p. 31 The Beautiful Work of Learning to Pray).  I am adding that definition of prayer to my ongoing list.  Do you have a definition of prayer you want to contribute to my list?

Pastor Laurie Barnes
Pastor of Prayer Ministry and Congregational Care
The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection

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