Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. (James 5:16 NRSV)
There is a wonderful story about a lawyer named Ned from Australia. He had once visited Kenya, and while there he walked through one of the worst slums in the world, to a hut where three brothers lived. When he entered the hut he immediately found himself in the center of a dozen or so children leaping into the air with joy at his presence. There was a contagious spirit in that rundown little hut, and soon Ned was jumping up and down with them. Then the kids started a sing-along, and they had a wonderful time together.
When it came time for Ned to leave, something happened that he says he will always remember. From the far side of the room he heard a quiet but clear voice. And what Ned heard was something like this: "We pray for the people of Australia, for Ned and his family." The group of children suddenly became very quiet. Then they responded: "Jesus, remember them when You come into Your Kingdom."
Ned couldn't believe it. In the middle of Africa, in the middle of the worst slum in the world, a group of slum kids, with reverence and earnestness, were holding up before God the people of Australia. The prayer hit him hard, and he thought to himself, "God, if Australia has any hope at all, it will be because of kids like this."
God of prayer, remind me often to pray for all of your people. Amen.