-two follow-up accounts from my previous post Prayer Nuts and Bolts
I’ve shared previously how much of my lay-ministry work I conduct amongst a network of people I see and interact with on a regular basis. This network consists of a real mixed bag of individuals, holding a variety of professions and persuasions. I understand that the Lord uses me as an influence in their lives as often they express to me their appreciation of my work, saying something akin to the following: ‘You always seem to come along just when I need the friendship, support, and input the most.’ As a result, over time, our lives have become intertwined and I find myself regularly praying for these friends and contacts.
In this manner I understand and feel something of what Paul did when he taught, “one sows, another waters but God gives the increase.” And, again, “we are laborers together with God.” One aspect of my prayers for my friends is that the ones that need to be strengthened in their relationship with God will do so and that the ones that need to come fully to God in relationship will do so.
Thus, I was so thrilled lately to see the noticeable change in one individual. This person I’ll describe as ‘the real deal’, meaning there’s no pretension with him. He doesn’t try to hide things. You get the total package: the endearing and the not so endearing, the ecstasy along with the agony; whatever is going on in his life, you’ll hear it.
I had become a little concerned with him of late because although he has a marvelous personal story, dynamic about him, and potential, I felt that he had somewhat allowed the negative aspects of life to squeeze out the positive and it was beginning to noticeably affect him. I had gently tried to encourage him to stay on a positive note and to take time with the Lord but he seemed to need a greater input than I could provide. He was on my prayer list.
I was both surprised and thrilled during my last visit to see him as he was so exuberant. He talked continually of marvelous things he was learning and that God was doing in his life. For you see, He and his wife, unbeknownst to me, had begun to commit to a time of regular united bible study and it was through this commitment that God was working and doing all the things neither of us could do. I needn’t have tried to get a word in edgewise; it was evident that God was getting through in marvelous ways.
I was struck with the fact that I was indeed witnessing the fulfillment of specific requests that I have been praying for this friend. Oh, I know I’m not the only factor or influence; I don’t presume that, God has many ways, but I knew that I had been playing my part. As has been said, If you can’t tend to it personally, pray for it (or them) fervently.
My 2nd account involves two friends, business owners, with whom I have been praying together over the last several months. They have been seeking to remedy some negative business decisions made, the results which had the potential to jeopardize their entire business. It was a long, stressful situation for them as so much was now out of their hands. They had long realized their mistakes, were genuinely penitent concerning them, were eager to set things straight but struggled deeply with remorse. My main point of advice to them was to confide in God, to do their part to rectify the situation and then, because God knows their hearts, to trust Him to mercifully work things out for the best.
They phoned me recently with the welcome news that their situation had at last been resolved. Incredible to them was the realization that God had done everything that they had asked him in prayer to do. They couldn’t get over the way they felt that God had worked on their behalf even though they knew they had been at fault and didn’t feel deserving of leniency.