My Wednesdays begin in the Prayer Room of our church. All of us pray-ers know the combination to enter this little sanctuary where we focus the time we spend there on the vast number of prayer requests. It can be overwhelming because there are so many needs and so few people finding time to commit to this opportunity.
Today I read again the request submitted one Sunday morning in July by Margaret*. I knew Margaret only slightly but we had met several years ago after she moved to our community. We were sitting next to each other for the worship service and a conversation began in which I learned of some difficulties in her life. I have rarely seen her since. But seeing her name again this morning and reading her request reminded me of how carelessly I had listened and responded to her situation over these past few years.
It seems Margaret's problems have not gone away. She is still a single Mom with three children, one of whom is autistic, and her ex-husband is diagnosed with cancer. The sheet with her prayer request included a phone number. Since there was not an update on this request since July, I decided to call the number and see if Margaret was available for a conversation and update.
Margaret answered after a number of rings. With hesitancy at first, she shared that there was no change in her situation since July. "In fact," she stated, "things have gotten worse. It seems there is a black cloud following me!" Her voice began to quiver as she told me that her rental home had been sold "out from under her" and she was in the process of moving. Her ex-husband has been given 3-6 months to live, her autistic daughter is very agitated about this and wants to spend as much time with him as possible so weekends include a 400 mile drive to/from his home, another daughter is in a bad relationship and Margaret is exhausted and angry!
I felt at a loss for words. How come "when it rains, it pours" as the expression states.
I assured Margaret that I would update the prayer sheet and our church family would continue to pray for her. But inside I was feeling her situation was nearly hopeless.
"What could I do to change her situation? Nothing."
I was about to hang up when a "still, small voice" urged me to pray with her over the phone. I suggested it and she agreed.
As I closed my eyes, picturing this dear, young mother, I found myself with God's words and truth welling within so that my prayer became a fervent imploring of God to lift the heavy heart and angry soul of this gal who had reached out for helpful prayers from a blessed congregation. I found myself energized as my words flowed to the throne.
And in these moments, I knew I was able to "do" something to help her. I could "pray" and that is not a small thing.
Without answers ourselves, we have a lifeline to the One with the answers.
My time in the prayer room had perhaps a greater impact on me today than it did on those for whom I prayed. But I'm confident that my prayers have been heard by our patient, loving, transforming heavenly father and He is able to lift the load being carried by Margaret and many others.
*not her real name