The past couple years have been something of a mid-life, mid-journey crisis. I long to soar outside the bounds of time, energy and self-centeredness to make a difference in this world. In particular, I was seeing gaps in my capability to be a present friend in times of trouble, or present enough to even be aware of trouble on the horizon. Around the bend from that, was the ever-active voice in my head, “You are not doing enough…in your community; nor in the world.” There are caregivers out there; moms, teachers, pastors, youth leaders and their wives(a whole superhero category unto themselves); who seem able to rally to a steady onslaught of needs, all while maintaining a good sense of humor. I am not one of them. Perhaps you are not either. This post is for us… I’m not going to talk about that ‘comparison thing’ we do, just share one compass-bearing of hope and help that God gave me midst that particular crisis.
One of my friends was in trouble – the collapse of a mission, scary, kid-stuff trouble. Another friend, who is one of those superhero types, organized 40 days of prayer and fasting around the needs. (I am not good at fasting either, just in case you were wondering.) But the situation was so desperate, my ability to help so small, that I signed up to fast and pray every Tuesday during that 40 days. This did not turn out to be a major accomplishment on my part. And how God used it for my friend and her family is their continuing story. What it was for me, however, was an opportunity – to see God at work, to listen for his truth, to align my heart and mind with his purposes, to fill one tiny hole in the gap of his love and care for them. My time at prayer became an AMEN to what He was already doing. It was a privilege to say Amen, over and over and over. Like that old-time discipline of writing on the chalkboard after being caught-out in some misdemeanor. 100 times… Amen…Amen… Amen.
After 40 days, it just seemed easier to keep praying, about all the people and places in the world where the need is great, and the help small. For friends and family hanging onto hope under the see-all lights of despair. About seemingly hopeless, and helpless situations brought about by the oppressions of poverty, sickness, evil in our world. One can hardly turn around without encountering desperate need, on every side. It is truly overwhelming to anyone who wants to be of help.
Tuesday mornings. Compass bearing: prayer. What are the landmarks?
- I think God gave me a portioned task; one that I could do. In the midst of all the other demands that are never-ceasing in the life of a caregiver, I can focus and pray about these issues one day per week. I can be consistent, even if I don’t have the energy to be perpetual. Is that the only day I pray? No, but it is the day I always (or almost always), pray for these friends, at home and across the globe, regarding these issues.
- Prayers are grounded in scripture, which lays a foundation of truth. upon which strong stuff grows, even in the most desperate of situations. Isaiah 61 reminds me of God’s intent. Ephesians 1 and Romans 8 reassure me of His power. Copyright law prohibits me sharing these verses in entirety here, but they are like pavers of gold, if you want to build a prayer walk. If your situation is one to which sin-leads-to-death applies, Ephesians 1 describes resurrection power. If you seek to countermand injustice, Isaiah offers hope and a dream for the future.
- Finally, I am not advocating leaving someone’s side, for your prayer closet. But barring some other God-appointed role, I am confident that His filling of a hole in the wall of his kingdom with the putty of truth-filled prayers, is an offering of eternal value. Tuesday mornings…Godspeed