A few weeks ago I was making a rare hospital visit to have prayer with a dear friend undergoing brain surgery. My emotions were on edge as she has been a vital part of the Smith family for 13 years. She helped raise our children, cared for them as a Godmother, favorite aunt, not sure the “title” . .but bottom line, she loved us unconditionally . . . and this was a time that trying to balance my role as a “pastor” and a friend was challenging.
I was on a time crunch because the surgery time was unexpected, thus I became frustrated when I could not find my way . . . this hospital has a myriad of elevators, and being directionally challenged, I kept losing my way.
A kind gentleman asked me if I needed help and I graciously accepted.
We journeyed together to the right elevators and stood waiting on their arrival.
After a few moments a few other gentlemen arrived and the three of them began a conversation I had the privilege to overhear.
“So, how are you doing today? Are you holding in there?” my elevator friend asked the two other men.
They replied, “Yes . . . but this is so hard . . . the waiting. We really don’t know how this is going to go.”
“Yes . . . I know what you mean . . . no one wants to be here; but I am praying for your mom.”
Their eyes glistened and they expressed their thanks. Then they inquired to him about his wife.
He explained that he felt like she had really turned a corner and that the prognosis was good.
As a bystander, I wondered what would happen in this moment. They clearly were distraught with worry around their mom. However, this man they clearly didn’t know more than a “waiting room” room relationship had received good news.
I was moved to tears to watch what happened . . . They became joyful . . . their voice inflection changed, they hugged him, and were excited for him in his news. They stated they would miss seeing him in their waiting room time together but they would continue to keep him and his wife in their prayers.
Rather than both sets of men go inward with their own pain and struggle, they experienced the joy that comes with increased compassion for others. The men who didn’t yet know the outcome for their mom left the elevator that day with smiles on their faces, carrying themselves differently.
One’s broken heart became a broken-open heart by praying, “Please.”
“Please God . . . be with his wife.”
“Please God . . . give him strength.”
What a powerful thing – being united together with others through compassion and love. That is what happens to us when we pray – we become intertwined even more with the Divine Creator of Love. One way to do this is when we pray with the word “please.”
It unites strangers together in hospital waiting rooms and forms connections that truly don’t happen just randomly.
James 5: 13-18, The Message
13-15 Are you hurting? Pray. Do you feel great? Sing. Are you sick? Call the church leaders together to pray and anoint you with oil in the name of the Master. Believing-prayer will heal you, and Jesus will put you on your feet. And if you’ve sinned, you’ll be forgiven—healed inside and out.
16-18 Make this your common practice: Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you can live together whole and healed. The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with. Elijah, for instance, human just like us, prayed hard that it wouldn’t rain, and it didn’t—not a drop for three and a half years. Then he prayed that it would rain, and it did. The showers came and everything started growing again.
Thoughts to ponder:
Who can you pray for today that is undergoing difficult circumstances?
Do you ever encounter strangers that catch your eye and you notice they have a need? What if you call upon the grace of God by saying, “Please God give them strength, patience, peace, . . .” How could that not just work in their lives, but how could it change you?