There always seems to be talk about prayer, especially after such a trauma as what happened at the Boston Marathon. We all remember the commitments to prayer made after 9/11, or the Sandy Hook school shootings. I believe that prayer is the single most powerful thing that we can do in any given situation, and that the prayers of those seeking the Lord truly reach the very throne of heaven. Listen to this promise from the Lord...’I will answer them before they even call to me. While they are still talking about their needs, I will go ahead and answer their prayers!’…Isiah 65:24. Here are some more words that reveal the heart of God...’I desire therefore that in every place men (all of mankind) should pray, without anger or quarreling, or resentment or doubt (in their minds), lifting up holy hands.’…1 Timothy 2:8. It is a fact that prayer changes things and is a true source of supernatural power from God. Through prayer, God imparts wisdom on mankind to direct our paths.
It would seem that the great majority of people actually believe in prayer, as the volunteers for prayer come out of the woodwork when someone is in need or pain. A quick look on facebook or other social media reveals many requests for prayer for various life and family needs, with lots of replies back such as ‘praying for you’…’praying’…and the like. I believe this could be a wonderful outreach then, but my challenge to put out there today is, are all those people really praying? If you have responded in the affirmative to pray for someone or their need, have you really done it? While I believe many do, I also believe many do not. Why is that? When we say ‘I will pray for you,’ is it an obligatory knee-jerk response with no follow through? Or is it a call to action that brings us humbly to the throne of God, where true power lies? …“For the kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk, it is living by God’s power.’….1 Corinthians 4:20. Idle words serve no lasting purpose, and good intentions are void of any power.
After the Boston Marathon bombings, my twelve year old middle school daughter came home and shared that a saying became popular at school that day….P4B. Kids were repeating this new acronym and writing it in various places. When I asked her what it meant, she gave me the mom, you are sort of clueless look, then beamed the answer…’Pray for Boston…get it…P4B!’… Oh yes, I get it. While it became a rather cool saying, it remained only that…a saying. I asked her if she had witnessed even one student putting true action to those words, or even better, if two or more came together to pray. I asked her if she had prayed. Her answer was not unexpected…’No one really prayed mom. We can’t do that in school.’ My girl has come to see that actual prayer is frowned upon in public school, but talking about prayer is apparently ok. There is no power in talk. Imagine if our schools got to really praying. There would be breakthroughs and miracles, and the guns would truly not be allowed in. That is another blog for another day.
As I was ready to push the ‘publish’ button on this one, the Lord brought to my remembrance a certain patient I took care of in the ER about six years ago. She was what we RN’s would call a ‘drug seeker.’ She had frequent ER visits and would routinely ask for narcotic pain medication. Such patients can be extremely difficult to deal with, and trying to muster up compassion or empathy for them is a challenge. The life of a narcotic addict is truly heartbreaking though, and they are certainly lost in many ways. I remember that there was a softness inside of her rough exterior, and as I talked with her about her life, she began to cry. Her tears mattered to God, and he was imparting his compassion for her on to me. I told her that God loved her and that he had a good purpose for her life. Pretty soon she was sobbing, and I remember her saying that I was the nicest nurse she had ever met. Oh, I was feeling all good about myself then and figured I had done my good deed for the day. Nothing like blowing your own trumpet. And then she asked something of me….‘Will you pray for me?’ I immediately replied in the affirmative…’Yes, of course I will pray for you.’ …and then I excused myself from her room. After all, I would pray for her,….maybe after I got home that night. I was obviously too busy blowing my own trumpet to have ears to hear. Somewhere in there it became about me instead of God, and I missed the true mark. You see, as I was driving home that night after my shift, I did begin to pray for this woman. My prayers felt void, and soon I heard the Lord in my heart rebuking me for not grabbing hold of that woman’s hands right then and there and praying for her, the very moment she asked me to do so. A flood of realizations came to me then…truthful ones…You wanted me to pray for her right then and there? What if the doctor or another nurse came in? Can’t I just pray in private for her?…’He was revealing the motives of my heart and I was so sorry for missing the true call I was trusted with that day. That woman needed a touch from the Lord and she needed the power of prayer in her life. There is NO power in talking about it, the power comes in actually doing it. And to pray in agreement with another is to bring the Lord right in that prayer circle. Listen to this promise of God…‘For where two or three gather in My name, there I am with them…’ Matthew 18:20. That kind of power and life change is what God had in mind for this woman. She needed much more than a nice nurse.
For the next few days I had a simple prayer..’More of you God, and less of me.’ God was gracious enough to use me the very next shift. My first patient was a husky man who was having stroke symptoms. His wife was at the bedside and I could sense they were troubled in their hearts. They began to share with me that they were having financial struggles and did not know how they were going to handle the medical bills. They too were very concerned over his condition and what was in store for his future. The wife communicated that there was ‘much to be praying about.’ My heart caught hold of that and without a moments hesitation I asked if I could pray for them. They agreed. I am not sure if they were shocked when I grabbed their hands at that very moment…but in an instant we were praying. The words that came were not rehearsed or thought out. They were not my own words, but I was soon weeping as they came. This family had many burdens, and God was revealing to them and me that he cared for them all. The words were especially for them apparently, because when our prayer was done, all three of us were wiping tears from our faces. My words cannot do that as they have no power, but God’s words can. It did not matter that a physician walked in the room in the middle of this, as I had gotten myself out of God’s way! I do not know what ever happened to that precious couple in the long run, but I do know that God was going to see them through it all.
Do you need prayer? Is there someone in your life that needs your prayers? Don’t just talk about, but do it; and the sooner the better. Do not let the God-given moments in life pass you by.
A prayer for our nation, and our world…
Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land……2 Chronicles 7:14