Over the past three years I have gone to levels of discouragement that I did not think I could over come. You see I took over the coordination of the prayer ministry of our church some three years ago. In that time I have done some serious questioning as to why this ministry has at times seemed to flounder. My dreams of a packed sanctuary for our twice monthly prayer meeting seemed to fall sadly short of my grand expectations.
I would lament over the sad state of these meetings to my closest friends and weep bitter tears as each month I would show up with the worst kind of attitude knowing that no one would be there.
However as I began to think and pray about this situation one of the things I began to notice is that no matter how many people show up for these meeting the power of God never ceases to be faithful.
The word tells us that:
MT 18:19 "Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them."
So I know that it does not take a room full of believers to pray for a miracle or even a simple answer to a heartfelt request.
Our last prayer was 22 days ago. I was sitting in the sanctuary quietly waiting as the small number of the faithful trickled in. As happens some times there were a few new faces as well. These meeting are always an informal gatherings and our primary focus is to stand in the gap for the needs of the congregation as well as any other needs that may be going on in the community or even on a larger scale such as national or global issues.
Our pastor of congregational care, who is also one of my dearest friends, is our leader for these prayer meetings. However on this particular Sunday there was an emergency that required her attention. I have on occasion lead these prayer meetings when she is called away, so albeit a bit unexpected and on the fly I stepped up and took over for her as she went to minister to the needs of the congregation.
We had concluded praying for all the needs that had been placed on out list for this particular meeting and had moved into the alter time. We always make it known that if you should desire to spend time in prayer alone then the alter is open, however should you require someone to pray with you all that is required is a simple raising of the hand.
Immediately upon the alter time beginning a young woman stood and before even making it up to the alter her hand was in the air. I tentatively walked over to her and we made our way up to the alter. It was very clear that this your woman had a heavy burden. As she knelt down her countenance shifted to that of complete sorrow. She wept and poured out her heart to me.
As everything we pray abut in these meeting is strictly confidential I will respect her privacy and just share with you that I have totally been in a very similar situation in my life. She was very simply a young mother and wife in a very difficult and heartbreaking set of circumstances. She felt hopeless and saw no way out of this heartbreaking situation.
I embraced this young woman and held her has she wept and wept. She poured forth her heartbreak and we prayed for healing and we prayed for peace, strength, and for God’s perfect solution. I anointed her with oil and then quietly stepped away as she said that she needed a few moments alone with the Lord.
At the close of the service I spent a few moments talking with this young woman. I took down her name as well as wrote down all the details so I could pass her situation on to the staff.
Over the next few days I felt a heavy burden for this young mother and would remember her and her family in my prayer time. I also knew that all my faithful members of the prayer ministry, who had witnessed her gut wrenching sobs and heartache were also praying for this woman as well.
In a conversation I had with a friend this morning I commenting that it never ceases to amaze me at how blind people can be when they consistently refuse to see the hand of God when it is right in front of their face. I am also so very thankful that God never gives up in trying to reach those that He loves. You see what happen next was evidence that was so overwhelming clear to me of just exactly how compassionate God is and how mightily He chooses to work in our lives.
Yesterday morning as the worship service concluded, I was collecting my things, repacking my bible and notebook back in my bag and preparing to leave the sanctuary.
I looked up at the call of my name. There before me was a young woman. She obviously was familiar with me as she had called me my name. I looked into her face and was not at all sure where I knew this woman from. Being a member of a rather large congregation has it’s disadvantages as it is some times very difficult to remember all the new faces you come in contact with on any given Sunday.
I stood up and had a very small spark of possible recognition and as she began to speak.
“Do you remember me? You prayed with me?”
As soon as she said this it fell into place, one does not forget those profound moments of prayer as we had experienced together several weeks ago.
She was smiling at me and she began to share with me that the two very difficult situation we had prayed about had been resolved very shortly after the prayer meeting. As she continued to talk I felt that familiar warmth wash over us. The presence of the Holy Spirit was evident as we rejoiced in this very powerful evidence of God grace and how at times He chooses to act swiftly.
She thanked me for my prayers. I told her that it had been my great privilege to intercede on her behalf, but I also reminded her that it was God who deserved the real thanks and all the glory. I shared with her that she had just witnessed in her life the very real presence and guiding hand of God. Our Heavenly Father had touched her life in a powerful way and there was no mistake. She had cried out to Him in her anguish and brokenness and God in His great mercy had listened and answered her prayer. God is good in all He does, there is purpose in everything He beings about.
I said “Ya know, there is something else I need you to do. You need to write this down.” I shared with her that when God moves in our lives in profound ways it is up to us to make sure we are paying attention. It is also up to us as His faithful followers to keep an accurate record of how and when God works.
It was so clear to me that God is at work in the life of this young woman and her family. It was also very clear to me the God had used this young woman to speak to me as well. I knew the moment that we finished our conversation as she walked away that God had shown me in a powerful way the perfection of Matthew 18:19.
God spoke to me and said “My sweet daughter, it does not matter if only a few faithful followers show up. I am more powerful, I can transform the prayers of two or three into a thousand fold in heaven. I just need you to continue to show up and leave the rest to me”
This powerful example of God at work would have been enough, but as God often does He was even more abundant in His blessing in this particular day. Our next prayer meeting was scheduled for that very evening. I knew when I was walking to my car in the parking lot that this was something that God wanted retold.
Later that evening we gathered, again the few and faithful. I shared with them my experience of the morning and how God had so graciously answered our prayers on behalf of this young woman. You see I could feel it. It was a confirmation for me as well as for all the other faithful who stand in the gap.
God said in a loud voice “where two or three come together in my name, there am I with you. I am listening intently, I an actively working, I am that I am, all you need to do is trust in me and continue to show up …..and …….continue to pray."