Read: Exodus 17:8-13; Ephesians 6:18
It has really felt like spring this week. My husband and I have begun the spring sprucing. Tulips are now visible having been freed from the pine needles that covered them. There are many more bags of winter's debris to remove from the flowerbeds and grass, but if we waited until we could accomplish everything, nothing would get done. Yes, I know that the wind will deposit more leaves onto the lawn; yet, there is a joy in being able to accomplish what can be done on any given day. It's fun to work so that God's beautiful creation can be displayed right in our yard. What an awesome Creator we have.
There is another amazing work that God has given us besides showcasing His creation. I'm thinking about the work of prayer. Please don't misunderstand what I am saying. Prayer is a privilege and a precious gift that God has given us. Imagine being able to be involved in what the King of Kings and Lord of Lords is accomplishing. So why do I also refer to prayer as work? For one thing, like outdoor tasks, it is on-going and there will always be new people who need prayer. We can't pray for everyone, but there is a blessing in praying for those that the Lord enables us to bring to His throne each day to receive the help He alone can give, Hebrews 4:14-16.
I was reminded of this last night as I was reading some stories from the Breaking Christian Headlines sight. That was where I read about Lois, Evans' who is again in a battle with cancer. I was sad to hear of yet another prominent lady, Tony Evans' wife who is suffering with this wicked disease. In the last several months, we have also heard about Anne Graham Lotz and Joni Eareckson Tada's struggles with cancer. These three women are walking an oh so difficult path while thousands of people look on from afar. No doubt, there are both advantages and disadvantages to being prominent. Yet, whatever is true in each of their lives, their needs and emotions are not different than our own. Besides being on-going, another way prayer is similar to outdoor tasks is that we don't frequently see what God is doing on behalf of the one for whom we are praying right after we say amen. The same is true with plants. They don't grow overnight, except for Jack's beanstalk.
However, in today's scripture reading from Exodus 17:8-13, we read about a time when God acted quickly and decisively. Moses was holding up his staff, a picture of relying on God's power, just what we do when we pray. When Moses' hands became too tired, Aaron and Hur supported him by keeping his hands up. We might say that they helped him by supporting him through prayer. God's power for defeating the enemy came through this act, and God gave Joshua and his men victory over the Amalekites that day.
I would like to see God's victory for my brothers and sisters immediately as we pray, wouldn't you? And God on occasion shows us a wondrous answer immediately. Yet, more than not, He wants us to pray for others, helping them through our prayers so that they can continue to walk, honoring Jesus and allowing His Light to shine through them no matter the challenge. Just because we don't see the hoped-for outcome we desire, it doesn't mean that God hasn't brought rich blessings through our prayers. Things might look unchanged, but who can know if God sustained someone who was weary or gave unseen victory over temptation because of our petitions.
Back to Lois Evans. Her husband, in that article, asked people to pray for them. This diagnosis is very recent, and there is a great deal they do not yet know concerning what they will do. They have four grown children and 12 grandchildren who all will be affected by the diagnosis they have received. Perhaps God will take this disease away from Lois Evans without treatment. There is nothing too difficult for Him, Jeremiah 32:27. Or it might be His path for them that she receives treatment. We don't know, but we can hold up the Evans family's hands in prayer. Maybe they will be on our hearts for only a short time or for many months. However, today, we can pray as the Lord enables and directs us.
Yes, the scripture in Ephesians 6:18 reminds us that all people in all circumstances need prayer. How overwhelming that is. No wonder we need to be alert so we can pray, 1 Peter 4:7. It is necessary that we be helped by the Spirit when we pray, Romans 8:26-27. No wonder it takes perseverance to keep holding up the hands of those God puts on our hearts. Yet, as we do, we participate in the precious work God is doing in the lives of our brothers and sisters.
Father, we don't know how to pray for the Evans family. You are the Giver of every good and perfect gift, James 1:17; Matthew 7:9-11. Please help them today, Psalm 46:1. You know that it is our desire that You take this cancer away, and if You are willing You can heal Lois Evans as you healed the leper, Matthew 8:1-3. If Your plan is a different one, please strengthen this family day by day as they look to You, Isaiah 40:28-31.