A funny thing happened on my way to knee replacement recovery – people prayed for me. Allow me to explain.
I have no idea how many people pray for me. I will probably never know. My family probably does pray for me and when we gather for a big meal we pray for one another. We also pray for God’s blessing on the food – something I’m almost embarrassed about doing. Isn’t it enough that He provided the food that we should refrain from asking Him to “bless” it – whatever that means. In terms of public praying, I probably have prayed more for food than people.
My pastor says he prayed for me the other day and he actually called and prayed with me over the phone. Since my surgery took place out of town, he had no choice but to call me on the phone and I know had he been present he would have prayed out loud for me. Technology has made praying possible over long distances and I have no doubt would have been utilized during the first century by the apostles. With a good cell phone, Paul could have stayed in contact with his beloved Jerusalem church during his many missionary journeys. Technology can be used for good and bad things. And then there is Facebook.
For all the bad things about social media, it is nice to be able to communicate prayer requests and concerns through social media and have people respond with a “praying” comment. Nothing wrong with that. I often tell people that I am praying for them through Facebook and have been on the receiving end of those prayers. It is a great comfort just knowing people say they are praying. I greatly aporeciate that. But, I don’t hear those prayers. I don’t hear their voice inflection, their emotions, I don’t feel their presence or passion. It almost makes the promise to pray for someone too easy, too non-committal.
A few days ago I was reminded what it means to really pray for someone and the experience led me to reconsider my prayer life. Here is what happened. Last year Lisa purchased an embroidery machine which recently required some repair work. The company where she made the purchase agreed to send someone out to the house to pick up the machine and take in to their shop. None of what I’m about to tell would have happened had my surgically repaired knee been strong enough to carry the machine down the steps and into our car myself. But, there was no way I could do that. It would seem the master potter was molding the clay for the moment that was about to unfold. In other words, God had me just where He wanted me.
Two men arrived at our house to pick up the machine. One, an older man appearing to be in his late fifties, the other a young many in his twenties. I guided the two men to the upstairs room where Lisa does her embroidery work. As they began to unplug the machine and prepare it for the journey down the steps, the older man asked about my knee. Lisa had explained to them over the phone about my surgery and the reason we needed their help in getting it picked up and carried to their store. I explained to the man that I was six weeks out of surgery but still experiencing a good amount of pain. And then something unexpected happened.
“Have you prayed about it?”, the older gentleman asked. I was a little taken aback by the question but responded with “Oh, yes! Been praying a lot.” He then asked if they could pray for me. It is sad to say that I felt a little weird allowing these strangers to pray over me. This is what Facebook prayers have turned me into – someone actually wanting prayer, expressing my prayers to others, but uncomfortable having someone actually pray for me in person. C.S. Lewis’s “Screwtape” would have been all over this one. What a better way to hasten the demise of the Christian faith than to cheapen ones prayer life to the extent that actually praying in public becomes too uncomfortable for even people of so-called faith. If we truly believe in the power of prayer, we should be praying for each other out loud, loudly, and often.
I said that I would appreciate their prayers and the older gentleman bent down and gently placed his hand on my surgically repaired knee and started praying. He did not hold back. As he passionately prayed for my complete healing, his younger partner placed his hand on my shoulder and joined in. As the older gentleman’s prayer ended, the younger man took over praying for not only my knee to heal but for my life to be full of joy and peace. Tears came to my eyes as I listened to these two complete strangers pour out their hearts to God on my behalf. In that small upstairs bedroom, God showed up.
When their prayers were finished the older gentleman asked a simple question. “Is your knee better?” I walked a few paces around the room and told him it actually did not hurt as much. He believed that God would heal my knee and made that clear to me. They completed their work of loading the machine into their truck, I thanked them for their prayers and they were gone.
It has now been a few weeks since their visit to my house and my knee is practically pain free. It is slowly getting stronger and I have complete confidence that it will heal completely. Perhaps God did not heal my knee on the spot as these two faithful men believed he could and would. Maybe God has chosen to take a little longer to do His work. But this I can say God did that day – He sent two men to pray for me and their prayers and everyone else’s are slowly being answered.
Keep praying – loud and often.