Impression ~ A mark impressed on a surface by something. An effect produced on someone. An idea, feeling, or opinion about something or someone.
This morning I find myself marked with the impression and power of prayer to radically change and transform our lives.
I just said “Amen” at the close of yet another Spirit-filled conference call prayer meeting. As soon as I heard my brother announce himself on the call, I could hear the overwhelming exhaustion in his voice from the wear and tear of life … Knowing the extent of the load he is carrying, Atlas would shrug yet again.
‘Thank God’, I thought, that this call happened to fall on this very morning. ‘Happened?’ Not at all … there is no accident in God’s economy. He who sees the sparrow fall most certainly knows when his child needs to be picked up by his brothers—he knows that this small band of believers would know what to do with him. We would do what the friends in the gospel did with the paralytic man who could not get to Jesus under his own strength … we would carry him to God. Remember? Finding the crowd too great, they went so far as to cut a hole in the roof of the home where Jesus was teaching, and lower the man right down in front of Jesus. What a picture! Those friends could not change the circumstance or condition of this man, but they knew who could—they knew to take him directly to Jesus Christ. So too this morning, my brother from knew what to do—like only he can, he first expressed his love and support for New York man, and then carried him to Jesus in prayer. (I was twice blessed—once to be able to come together in support of someone I love, and again, to listen as one brother ministered to another, from across the ocean, and through the wonder of technology too, through the cellular phone network. All-in-all, ‘amazing!)
And then, yesterday was the first on-campus high school meeting of Fellowship of Christian Athletes. As I wheeled my ‘bag-lady’ cart with CD player, baskets of New Testaments and eight dozen cookies, I wondered if anyone would show up … I mean, sure, the students had certainly shown their interest last week by signing up, but you know---just what if? What if no one came? Hmmm … Well, God showed his faithfulness once again. Show up they did. Too many to count. Too many to fit in the classroom. But all glad to be there, and no one complained of his sardine-like condition.
Two young athletes, 16 years of age, had volunteered to share ‘why God was important’ to them. The first young man, a junior and a la cross player, smiled nervously and said, “Well, my family hasn’t really gone to church—except for the big days, sometimes, like Christmas and Easter. But a couple years ago, I started praying—just basic prayers like, ‘God please watch over friends and family, and keep them cancer-free.’ (His mom had fought breast cancer) ‘Then, I started praying each morning and evening … talking about more things to God. I was recently impacted by two things: the first was at a la cross tournament, where I heard three coaches give their testimonies. Wow! They really impacted me, hearing how they had come to God, and I wanted that. And then, more recently, my friend’s dad passed away from cancer, and I went to his funeral. So many people got up and told the huge crowd what he had meant in their lives, because of his faith in God, and the kind of life he led. I want my life to be like that. But, really—it all started when on my own, I started praying to God.
I think FCA will change our campus because we will impact each other and our campus for God. Well, that’s it.” And the classroom erupted in applause.
The second young man stood up—a tennis player, and a high school junior as well—“Well, I came to God because of really hard times. See, my mom and dad got divorced, and I was lost. Everything was upside down in my life. I had a Bible, but hadn’t really been into it too much, until one night when I was hurting really bad, and I prayed, ‘God, show me you’re there, by leading me to a verse that will help me!’ Well, he did … and then I started praying more, and reading my Bible more, and well, it really changed me.’
His eyes fairly sparkled as he said boldly, ‘I think this group can be like a family—FCA, I mean, because I still don’t really have one—and Christians can be that for each other. We can pray for each other, and be there for each other … FCA will be great for our school…. and well, I guess that’s all I got to say. . .” A big baseball player grabbed him and hugged him, and again, the room erupted in cheers and clapping.
It seems as though prayer might be quite intuitive—part of our nature even—to reach for something or someone who is out there, who is bigger than us, and can help us make sense of things. And once we learn that he is indeed there—a God of love, order, wisdom, power, might, justice G mercy—we ought get bolder and bolder in our prayers! Do not be afraid to ask God for great things, my friends. Prayer changes things, prayer changes us.
Grace and Peace,