The memory is at least 40 years old, but I can still see her body crouched over the altar, bouncing in rhythm to the soul-piercing wails alternating with vocal pleas to God to save her son.
He chose an evil path rather than life with Jesus, but his sweet, humble momma never gave up on him.
Sunday after Sunday, she poured her heart out on that same altar, and my guess is much of her day every day was spent not only praying for him, but also carrying a heavy and deeply broken heart.
I never heard what ultimately happened, but I do know the opportunity to witness such a public display of commitment to prayer and the obvious brokenness for another’s soul struck a chord with me.
She pops in my mind from time to time, especially when I realize how little time I’m spending in prayer or when I’m tempted to fret over a situation rather than take it to the Lord.
She also came to mind as I read a message by TAB Media board chairman Rob Jackson.
‘Power of prayer’
“We often attempt to serve others with our power, leading to fatigue, frustration and minimal results,” he said. “Let us seek today to tap into the power of prayer.”
He developed the message around the example shown by Elijah in 1 Kings 17 and how important intercession is in the life of a believer.
“Elijah’s intercession was not a casual prayer but one in which he agonized,” Jackson explained. “For emphasis, it is stated twice that he ‘cried out.’ … Elijah didn’t halfheartedly intercede.”
Jackson’s challenge to all of us is to be true intercessors — “men and women who will agonize and labor in prayer as we take the needs … to God.”
Pleading on their behalf
Who are the people in your life who need Jesus? Focus on them for a while, say their names and pour out your heart to the Father.
And while we plead on their behalf, we also should seek the Lord’s direction for our own steps and the role we are to play in their lives.
Are we modeling Christ for them in our daily walk? Are we seeking opportunities to share?
And for all the random situations facing us on any given day, how should we respond? Are we seeking God first? What should we do? What should we not do?
Are we making decisions based on how the Lord is guiding us through our prayer time and reading of His word, or are we determining the best course of action based on what we want in the moment or what we think should happen?
Where do we need courage? Where do we need restraint?
Remembering the moment
Do we believe God can help us in those areas? Do we believe we can totally trust Him? What if we all really followed the words of the hymn “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”?
When’s a time you truly took it all to the Lord? Buried your face before Him and pleaded? Spent hours, days, weeks or more in consistent prayer?
What do you remember about that moment and how He carried you? How did it change you?
Whose path will you cross this week who needs to hear that story?
We’d love to hear the story and how God is using it in your life and the lives of others. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if we can consider it for use in an upcoming issue, or email me personally if you’d like to share with just me.
At the very least, take the opportunity to remind yourself of one of those moments.
What a Friend we have in Jesus
All our sins and griefs to bear!
What a privilege to carry
everything to God in prayer.
Have we trials and temptations
Is there trouble anywhere?
We should never be discouraged
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Are we weak and heavy laden
Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge
Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Source: Excerpt from the hymn “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”