A couple days ago I reached out to 11 members of the STL “extended family” and 7 of them got back to me. Two of the follow-ups actually included face-to-face communications. What is one to do with a .636 batting average in a time like this?
A day later I spoke with someone looking to move into a new home. Within the course of about one week they went from starting their search … to being approved … to having a few days to make a decision. Can you imagine going through a time like this at the end of 2020 and just before the holidays?
Later that same day I received another call from a different family. Mom and Dad were both in ICU and being placed together into palliative care. It is as though the couple – who did almost everything together in their +50 years of marriage – were in a footrace with each other toward heaven. What a time for that family!
If there ever is such a thing as “prayer-time”, I believe today is the day. “Lord Jesus, I pray on behalf of those who are just getting to know you through our ministries – bless them as they are drawn closer to you and us. Also be with that family looking to move into a new home – Guide them to trust you as they make some difficult decisions.”
Before I got to the third portion on my prayer, I received a text informing me that Mom and Dad had finished that race together shortly after 6:00 p.m., with Mom winning by a stride. The accompanying photo showed their arms side by side (one with multiple IV’s), holding hands as they had throughout their married life. By God’s grace they were given the same inspired words to breath as did St. Paul, “The time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.” (2 Timothy 4.6-8) “Precious Savior, as we rejoice in the victory you have given this special couple we pray that you now would grant your comfort and peace to their extended family and all who mourn their death.”
What is happening during your prayer-times these days? There are times (like yesterday) where I am so overwhelmed with prayer concerns that I do not feel productive! And then I realize what a fool I am. Productivity is fueled by prayer. In fact, I am convinced that during those 40 days Jesus spent in the arid wilderness being tempted by Satan, the majority of our Lord’s time was spent in prayer … and look how productive he was (during and) immediately after that. Likewise, my friends, we dare not ignore this four-verse barrage of encouragement: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit.” (1 Thessalonians 5.16-19)
So again, I ask, what is happening during your prayer-times these days? Finding yourself too busy for prayer? There is no such thing! Do you tend to forget? Write yourself a note – even if that means getting your fingers inked. Hung up with fear and worries? Blend an even mixture of Bible reading into your prayers – I suggest you start with 1 Thessalonians. The multiple references to prayer in scriptures indicate two things to me – prayer is both very important and quite difficult to keep doing. Here are some words from Julie von Hausmann you might include in your prayer-time today: “Lord, take my hand and lead me upon life’s way; Direct, protect, and feed me from day to day. Without your grace and favor I go astray; So take my hand, O Savior, and lead the way. Lord, when the tempest rages, I need not fear, for you, the Rock of Ages, are always near. Close by your side abiding, I fear no foe, for when your hand is guiding, in peace I go.” (LSB 722)