Ever felt disarmed? Ever felt as though right where you stood, you had no means, no weapons, no control? Nothing could prepare you for what you were in and it was at that point in time that you felt as though you could do and offer nothing? It is interesting what happens to us in those moments, we discover what really does work and what doesn't.
It is something I took from Nehemiah when I went through the book and something that springs up time and again in the gospels. Prayer. Prayer is so important to us and yet we often forget it should be our first response to any and every situation. It is amazing what a prayer can do to a soul that is squirming inside itself. You can start a prayer in one state of mind and quickly find yourself in another by the end of it.
We are never disarmed and God had to show me this in a way I never saw. There I sat with a very close friend of mine next to a woman who needed ministering. Now, this wasn't just any woman, her name was Emelina, and she was 98 years old. She was alone in a nursing home room living out the last days of her life. There she sat by herself, almost motionless, with nothing but an oxygen tank and a bed. Around her were pictures of a once vibrant woman who looked like she belonged in a magazine. Now she sat alone, in a half lit room, with little if anything to say.
What was going through her mind? You think she was thinking back on all the things she did as a child? Think she was so happy about all the times she spent worrying about things? Think she enjoyed having nothing to look forward too? A sad reality rushed into me and at that point I had nothing to say. I was looking at the end of life in person, "but it didn't have to be that way!" I thought to myself. How on earth could I fill the gulf that stood between her and I? What could I possibly have to offer her? No apologetics, no teachings, no wise words, nothing I had in my mind could in any way fill the gap that stood between her and I. We fed her some vanilla pudding and spoke to her regarding how beautiful she was and how beautiful her dress was, really I didn't say anything, I sat and cried. Then He spoke to me, "Pray Chris, just pray." So I did.
After praying on my own, I looked up and said, "I think we should pray for for her, could you pray?" My close friend looked at me, now teary eyed, and began to pray for her. We both began sobbing as she prayed that God would remind this old woman of the love He had for her and what His son had done for her. I have never in my life wanted a person to accept that more than I did as I sat and wept. I wanted so bad for that woman to respond. I wanted her to truly feel what is the depth of God's love for her.
At that moment, the gap was gone. The gulf was closed. I felt in my heart she had heard us. All this woman needed was prayer, a simple reminder of God's love for her. It was at that moment I realized we were His reminder, our prayer, our presense was His reminder to her that God was thinking of her.
It is true what Paul says in 1 Cor 1, God uses the foolish to shame the wise. At that moment in that room, I was shamed. My human intellect, my human ability to reason, all of that went out the window when I looked into what many would call hopeless. Dry bones, as Ezekiel described them. And yet, who am I to judge if they could live or not? Wasn't Ezekiel's response to God "Oh Lord only you know"? At that moment, God used a person who said nothing to me, to bring me to my knees and humble me.
Sometimes words won't go far, sometimes reasoning will do nothing, gaps created my age will seem huge, gulfs caused by circumstance will seem eternal and yet, in the midst of all that, His voice travels over from the other side. We may not have anything in common with someone, but few people will deny prayer. Its language is universal and its impact, eternal. Sometimes, like Jesus tells us "This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting." (Mark 9:29)
I'm not sure what will happen to my new friend, however, I do know this, Pray. I ask you to consider this woman in your prayers this next week, and do read Ezekiel 37. Whoever that person is in your life you think is far off, consider Jesus' words to us in Mark 9 and consider Ezekiel's response to God......then pray