by Heather Bock
A friend of mine had been praying with co-workers for her friend in the hospital to know Jesus. They prayed fervently for months. They wanted their friend to know His love, forgiveness, and mercy. Then they heard someone had told the woman about Jesus, and that she had given her life to Him. They were overjoyed, and my friend told her what an answer to prayer this turn to Jesus was. The woman looked at her and said (not unkindly), “Why didn’t you ever tell me about Him?”
I wasn’t in touch with a relative of mine who I wanted to know better. However, he was in his 90s, and although his mind was fully capable, his body was breaking down. He had been hospitalized recently, and I realized I wouldn’t have much more time to talk to him. Not only did I want to know him better, I also knew he didn’t have a relationship with Jesus, and I hoped I could introduce him. After all, my grandfather accepted Jesus in his last days in the hospital. So I called my relative several times and talked to him, but besides a “I’m praying for you” or two, I never did ask him or tell him about Jesus. It wasn’t long before he passed away.
Someone else I know named Brian had a friend who never contacted him even though Brian tried reaching him several times. Brian had asked the friend questions about how he was doing, but when he finally did respond, never said anything about himself, nor did he answer any of the questions. Instead, he just asked how he could pray for Brian. By itself, that would be nice, but alongside the neglect of the friendship, it was hurtful.
Do you see a theme?
Maybe you’re the type who has no problem speaking in love when speech is needed even when it’s uncomfortable. Maybe you are the first to physically help others when they need help. However, maybe remembering to pray for others is your struggle. If so, my message to you is one you probably know but need reminding: prayer is important. This is not the focus on this post, but besides the fact that Jesus Himself prayed and that we are enjoined to pray without ceasing in I Thessalonians 5:17, James 5:16 says, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.” If we are to accomplish much in a person’s suffering or wrong direction, prayer will definitely help in a big way. Going on your knees and fighting for someone before the Father can be hard work sometimes, but it’s crucial.
But for those of you who find it easier to be on your knees than stepping up in a person’s life, sometimes we need to do more than pray. Sometimes we’re not the ones who hold influence in a person’s life to be heard, but sometimes we are, and we’re too scared to do anything. Or maybe nobody else deals with this. At least I’m preaching to myself!
I know we can pray for someone else to be used in another person’s life, and God will act the way He wants to no matter what we do or don’t do, but God might want to use us in particular, and we shouldn’t miss that privilege. I don’t know about you, but part of the reason I miss personal opportunities is because of busyness, but the main reason I miss them is due to fear. So, maybe more for me than for anybody else, here are some verses about fear that may be a help:
“The fear of man brings a snare,
But he who trusts in the LORD will be exalted.” Proverbs 29:25
“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.” I John 4:18
“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
Let us continue to pray, but let’s not let fear or anything else hold us back from saying what God would have us say or doing what God would want us to do.
How about you? Have you had a situation where you needed to do more than pray?
NIV LIFEHACKS Bible Drawing
If we’re going to know what to say when we need to speak, being in the Word is key. We’ll find a lot of wisdom there, too, that we can apply to our situations. This week, I have the opportunity to do a drawing for a free Bible called the NIV LifeHacks Bible: Practical Tools for Successful Spiritual Habits. If you haven’t yet subscribed to my blog by email, you can win one entry by clicking the button “follow” in the above right corner and typing in your email address. If you’ve already subscribed, or if you just want more entries, you can earn entries by sharing this post via social media. Each share to a different social media venue earns you one entry (up to three). I will announce the winner next Saturday when I publish my next guest post, so look for it! Thank you!