A visitor to a nursing home noticed a woman sitting with her head bowed. Assuming she was napping, even in the midst of the noise made by other residents who were gathering for the noon meal, the visitor touched her shoulder and said teasingly, “Miss Ruth, if you don’t wake up, you’re going to miss your lunch.”
The lady looked up and said, “I was just praying.”
I’m sure a lot of prayers are offered up in nursing homes and in other places where people feel a need of divine assistance. For example, each year when a family member and I go to the local hospital for our mammograms, she, a breast cancer survivor, says: “There’s probably more prayers prayed in these little rooms than in most churches!”
Although prayer shouldn’t be limited to crisis situations, we do tend to cry out to God more often and more fervently whenever we feel inadequate to handle whatever is going on.
Many of the Biblical writers knew the value of prayer, so they urged others to pray. James, who was “nicknamed ‘Old Camel Knees’ because of the thick calluses built up on his knees from many years of determined prayer” (The Message, p.1669), said, “The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with. Elijah, for instance, human just like us, prayed hard that it wouldn’t rain, and it didn’t—not a drop for three and a half years. Then he prayed that it would rain, and it did. The showers came and everything started growing again” (James 5:16-18, TM).
The Apostle Paul, who prayed and praised during good times and bad times, said, “Always be full of joy in the Lord….Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. If you do this, you will experience God’s peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:4-7, New Living Translation).
In 1876, Edmund S. Lorenz wrote a hymn, “Tell It to Jesus,” in which he asks a series of questions: “Are you weary, are you heavy hearted? Are you grieving over joys departed? Do the tears flow down your cheeks unbidden? Have you sins that to men’s eyes are hidden? Do you fear the gath’ring clouds of sorrow? Are you anxious what shall be tomorrow? Are you troubled at the thought of dying? For Christ’s coming kingdom are you sighing?”
If so, “Tell it to Jesus!”
Why? “You’ve no other such a friend or brother.”
In the beautiful hymn “What a Friend We Have In Jesus,” writer Joseph Scriven says, “What a privilege to carry / Everything to God in prayer!” And he also says, “Oh, what peace we often forfeit, / Oh, what needless pain we bear, / All because we do not carry / Everything to God in prayer.”
If we have trials and temptations, or if we’re cumbered with a load of care or if our friends despise and forsake us, we should, Scriven says, “Take it to the Lord in prayer.”
Why? “In his arms he’ll take and shield thee; / Thou wilt find a solace there.” What a blessed comfort that is!
©2007 by Johnnie Ann Burgess Gaskill, www.jgaskill.com.
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