Prayer of Great Hope
- Friday, March 21, 2003
War had begun. We knew it was imminent, yet still the reporter proclaiming over the news station that we were now at war rocked our world. We all appeared brave, sharing the common clichés with one another, "God is faithful" we said. "God is still on the throne" was uttered. Clichés too numerous to mention were stated by nearly every Christian within earshot.
While clichés in and of themselves are not bad. Something seemed hollow in the utterances. Did we all really believe it? Were we so frightened we could not think of anything else to say except a tired old cliché?
I felt a catch in my throat and suddenly the delicious meal I had previously consumed was not so delicious as it sat, undigested, while my mind digested the news coming from the television screen. I processed the information in the best way I could, by pretending that all was right in my little world. But all was not right in my world.
Yes, it is a fact that My God is on the throne, but the clichés offered little comfort to my body which was now reacting to the news. As I stood staring at the screen choosing in my self-centered way to think about how this was going to affect me, I was suddenly consumed with compassion for the millions of mothers, fathers, wives and husbands. Even though my husband is no longer in the military, I could relate to the woman whose husband had gone to fight a distant war.
Standing near me was a mother of steel whose son was on the front lines. Where does her strength come from? I wondered almost aloud. All those clichés began coming to the surface. I want to say something encouraging, not something true, but hollow. I want to offer her hope that he son, whom she devoted 24 hours a day for 20 years was going to come home whole and alive. I didn't have the only assurance that she longed to hear. I could not even possibly claim to know what is true.
The only thing I could think to say to her that would seem to make any sense at the moment was that our family had never prayed faithfully for anyone before we found out her son was in Kuwait. We had never before placed a photo on our fridge to remind us, and follow through to pray each and every night without fail that God would protect him from harm. Even when I made the commitment to my family that we would pray faithfully, I know my scatterbrained head might very well forget to pray.
The first night I had forgotten to mention this soldier in our nightly prayer, my son, David said after the amen, "P.S., Lord, please keep J.B. safe in Kuwait." Wow! God was working on the heart of my son through this committment to pray. It amazed me. The fruit of our committment was becoming evident. I found the children praying for J.B. at times other than just our nightly prayer time. But I also discovered we wanted to commit to praying daily for other people in need.
Often people would come up and ask me to pray for something in their lives. I would feel guilty saying yes, knowing full well that I would forget. It was a horrible feeling.
But through the commitment to praying for this young man and his family, we discovered more people who needed more than just a quick word to the Father. There were people who needed us to commit to pray for them until the situation in their lives was resolved. Through this committment, our family was learning a powerful lesson about the power of prayer, not just for the person being prayed for, but also for the person doing the praying.
As I shared the story of her son being the first person we committed to pray for, this mother was encouraged. She shared with me that there were many people praying for the safety of her son. This simple yet profound act gave this mother hope far greater than any cliché we could have offered.
You see, for a Christian, there is no greater comfort than to know that others, even complete strangers are praying for you, and the one you love.
Please, make an effort to find someone in our military, and pray for them daily.
In addition to devoting herself to her husband and the eight children she home schools, Terri also enjoys writing and speaking to offer encouragement to women in an effervescent, humorous way. Visit her Web site here or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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