A few summers ago I was approached by two men at my workplace who were confronted with weighty issues needing prayer. The one a diagnosis of cancer. The other a wife trying for the third time to bring a baby to full term. They wanted another to know the facts, to be in their corner, to offer up prayer.
I learned later that they each had church communities busy in prayer, although of very different traditions. In a couple of months both men brought praise reports back to me. I shared in their joy, giving credit to Jesus.
Later at an assignment out in our steel yard, I was alone with time for private thoughts. I thanked the Lord for undertaking for my friends. In my spirit I heard the words, "It was significant that you prayed, and prayed with compassion."
"Yes Lord, it was heartfelt. But I knew those fellows. I had a vested interest. It seemed easy to get my shoulders under it."
"Oh, if you would only pray more. What you might one day learn about how Heaven was moved. Lives changed forever. Even thanks being offered by total strangers."
"But Lord if the power is in compassion, how can I muster that for the stranger? It just doesn't seem to come. In corporate prayer at a church gathering some need of a stranger is voiced by another, and I just sit there like a log of indifference."
"Doug, I am asking you to agree with me in prayer in such situations. I have the vested interest, the compassion, the power to comfort and to heal. Just pray. As you come to know me more, I will release more of myself."
14And Jesus went forth, and saw a great multitude, and was moved with compassion toward them, and he healed their sick.
Churches, where are the patient seasons of compassionate prayer, the Jesus focused study, the Jesus focused giving of thanks, the Jesus focused singing, the Jesus focused message of hope to strangers? Victory comes in no other way.