Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Hands and The Feet of Jesus: Reaching Out in Prayer

I received some unfortunate news today. My cousin, Joe Crane, has passed away. He had been having health problems for the last (couple?) years. He was a retired minister who was adored by many. My thoughts are with Joe's wife, Joan, and his son, John Joseph along with his wife.

My thoughts have been on the urgency of the gospel message lately, and the loss of my relative has reminded me how fleeting life is. Yes, I know Joe lived a full life, but his passing was not expected, not yet.

There is someone in my life who I have been desperately praying for. Last week, God slammed my heart with the urgency of this person's salvation. I felt moved to make a commitment to spend time praying and spending time in the Word of God specifically focused on the needs of this person. As I was reading my bible last night, God impressed upon me the story of the paralytic Jesus forgave and healed (Mark 2: 1-12).

And again He entered Capernaum after some days, and it was heard that He was in the house. Immediately many gathered together, so that there was no longer
room to receive them, not even near the door. And He preached the word to
them. Then they came to Him, bringing a paralytic who was carried by four
men. And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd, they
uncovered the roof where He was. So when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.” (NKJV)

I've read this at several dozen times, even considered the great thing these friends of the paralytic did, but this time, it hit me so much stronger. This excerpt says, "When Jesus saw their faith..."

Something amazing happens when Christians gather together, whether physically or in spirit, to help others. I imagine these men worked together to get the man on the roof, break it down, and gently, safely lower their friend. They knew his need, they understood the urgency, and they didn't give up just because it was too packed for them to get this man close to Christ.

Sometimes there are situations which do not allow us to minister to those we love in the way we hope. We try, but then we see the impossibleness of it all, whether due to circumstances or the person's spirit. I tend to get discouraged and throw up my hands. "What can I do, Lord? What can I do?"

I kept crying out to the Lord, "What can I do? What can I do?" My heart ached for this person, but I felt so helpless. He reminded me that prayer matters, and that, with Him (God), nothing is impossible (Luke 1:37).

Think about it. If someone you loved was seriously ill, and you knew the cure for his or her ailment, wouldn't you want to share the cure with your loved one? Wouldn't you do just about anything to share the news of this cure with this person in order to spare them of the extreme pain and difficulties their illness would cause?

What scares me is that there are so many people out there who say they are Christians, say they know God, yet their lives are proof that they do not know God. There has been no transformation through God. These people are still stuck walking in the ways of the world. I've been one of those people... trying to be something that I could not have possibly been on my own.

We need so much the Truth of Jesus Christ, His grace and mercy, the gift of salvation, to be preached to people. We need to be passionate about it. It's truly a matter of life and death!

I want to challenge every Christian that reads this blog to commit to praying specifically for someone in their life. Not just mentioning this someone in passing as you say your daily prayers, but real, focused, passionate prayer for God to speak to this person and transform his or her life. Commit to praying for this person until they come to truly understand their sinful state, truly repent, and accept the gift God has offered through His Son. (And, continue praying for them in their "new babe" state.)

It's not about us doing a "great service" for God's kingdom, but rather us filling the plan Jesus put into motion for us to be His hands and feet. Reach out, reach up, for those who cannot do for themselves. Break down the roof and set this person before the feet of Christ.


Arlene said...

Wow, this post has seriously given me some things to think about. There are a couple of people in my life, more than 2 actually, that need the Lord. I'm going to be more focused in my prayers for them. Thanks for your thoughts.

Oh, and I've been praying for you also, since Hurricane Ike is heading your way. May the Lord keep you and yours safe.

Octamom said...

Beautiful post--

Thinking of you as the evacuations are underway--my dh is a little ways down the coast boarding up the house we have on the market.

Hope all is well--

Kristin@HomemakerAtHeart said...

I love your posts like this. They honestly make my day.

I've been praying for Jesse alot lately. He's really struggling with life right now. School is hard, work is hard...our marriage is being tested again. But we're determinded to pull through "on the otherside" Everytime we say something thing hateful, I remember the post that you wrote a week or so ago. When Brandon left and you welcomed him home with open arms even though you wanted to pop him one. :) It's helping

I've been praying to for you as well, my dear friend. Stay safe. You and yours are always in my prayers.

I was thinking, since we're both are busy with life, we should set up a time to have a chat date. {of course when the weather changes a bit down there} I miss talking to you.