Working the List

This posting is a bit unusual.  It is not so much about a topic, as it is about a man.  The man – James Chapman.  Unfortunately, I cannot give much of a biography of James as it would fill many books.  I can’t even begin to discuss everything he did, who he helped, his importance to his family, his service to his country (James was a Vietnam Vet), or all the roles he filled at our church.

Instead I will focus on James’ list.  James kept a list.  This was not a list of people who he wanted to get even with.  It was not a list of goals he wanted to achieve.  It was a prayer list.

But, unlike many prayer lists, James’ list was ‘alive’.  It was not a static list of names or causes, but an ever-changing and frequently updated list.  He would often be heard talking to someone in the church:

James: So, how is your son-in-law doing with his injured knee?

Sis Devine:  Not so good.  He is supposed to see the doctor again on Thursday.

James: I will update my list, and we will pray for a break-through.  What is his name?



James: It’s been 3 months since the last report.  How is your father doing now?

Bro Bulldog:  Well, he has relapsed, and they are not sure what is going on.

James:  Thanks, for telling me, and I will add him back on my list.


James was busy adding, updating, and removing prayer requests from his list.  No cause was too big or too small.  He ‘worked’ his list.

James passed in 2011, so he has moved on from his list.  But, not completely.  For the prayers he prayed are still working.  The prayers for members of his church, the prayers for his family, his children, and their children.  They continue to work, which brings significance to the scripture found in Revelation 14:13 – “And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.”

What ‘works’?  Well, we can think about the things the people who have passed from us, did – the things they created – the things they taught – the lessons we gained from their life and example.  But, it should also include their prayers, and the understanding that prayers are not just for the ‘now’, but for all time.

I’m still benefiting from the prayers of my father, mother, and step-father, although they are now all gone.  The benefits I have received from their prayers did not stop when they passed from this life.  But, as the scripture says, ‘their works do follow them’.

So it is with James Chapman.  His labor, effort, compassion, and dedication in maintaining his prayer list will continue to show benefits now and into the future.  His family, his church family, and those he loved and cared for will continue to receive benefits from those prayers he prayed.

Thank you, James, for your persistence, and for showing us what it means to pray fervently.  James 5:16 – “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

One Response to “Working the List”

  1. Barbara McGuire Says:

    What an awesome tribute to James Chapman! I hope one day that I will be able to leave behind a legacy much like James! Blessings…

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