I got a text message from a friend the other night. “Pray for my daughter. We are headed to the ER.”
What does one say?
The obvious answer would be to pray. Immediately. Stop and pray!
But what do you say, what do you do next?
Sometimes, praying IS WHAT you do.
Often times we downplay the power of prayer. Most Christ followers would say there is power in praying, that there is a purpose for praying, yet so often we don’t view praying as enough. Sadly, even the strongest of Christians could be guilty of thinking that somehow going and doing have more significance than prayer.
Though my heart and mind know and believe that there is a purpose and power in praying, I will admit, my actions don’t always reveal just how powerful I believe prayer actually is! Because IF I truly believed that, I would not only pray more, but I would see it as the most loving, life changing, helpful, and servant-hearted thing I could possibly do for my friend.
But quite often the opposite is true.
Often, I will pray for maybe forty-five seconds, sometimes for three minutes, but then I feel the need to still do more, as if praying wasn’t enough. The problem that I feel is revealed in this a core belief about prayer and what we are actually doing in our surrendering through prayer.
Now, don’t get me wrong.
Sometimes the intimate communication with the Holy Spirit prompts our hearts to serve somehow or say something to encourage another. But what I am saying, is that sometimes we should also be prompted to quietly and contentedly intercede in prayer. The key word being content.
So the next time a friend shares a burden or is suffering, let us each ask ourselves if we are prompted to do something because we are attempting something in our power, like fix a problem, or if what we are saying and doing is being done from a prompting of the Holy Spirit.
Often times the form of service the Holy Spirit prompts us to is through words of affirmation, encouragement, and exhortation.
Put yourself in her shoes. Have you been there? Maybe not in the exact same scenario, but maybe you have been in a similar situation where one of your children was hurt. How did you react outwardly? How did you react inwardly?
As soon as my friend texted me, my husband and I stopped what we were doing and prayed. In this particular circumstance, I was reminded immediately of similar situations we had found ourselves in as parents. And I recalled the emotions, the feelings, the anger, and the doubt I felt as a parent walking through similar experiences.
You know the emotions, the fear, the blame game, the feelings of regret or even anger.
As you recall the dozens of potential feelings that your friend could be experiencing, you wonder, “How is she handling this?”
You ask. And get a “fine.”
But is this the kind of communication and fellowship God created us for? A fine?
Now, you can’t make people want to share, and especially in the midst of an emergency, all the feelings, emotions, fears, etc., may be suppressed, overwhelming, or potentially unfamiliar and hard to explain. But I do believe that God’s Word encourages us all to deeper fellowship, on a regular basis, which leads us to a place of authenticity that welcomes both words of affirmation, such as “I know you are strong in the Lord, lean on Him and You can do anything in His name”, words of encouragement like, “This is normal to feel this way, but it’s not okay to stay focused on ourselves, let’s look to Jesus together in prayer,” AND words of exhortation such as, “Be careful not to fall into this trap of the enemy.”
“Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend.” Prov. 27:17
We are encouraged and exhorted by scripture to challenge one another, to warn one another, and to support one another Biblically. Sometimes what is needed in moments like these is a soft and gentle word of encouragement to fight the good fight.
So what is the good fight this friend, who is in crisis, engaging?
The choice to trust God, to glorify in Him even now in the midst of this awful emergency, accident, or tragedy or to indulge the enemy in his trickery, namely, The Blame Game.
We need to have the kind of eternal focus in our friendships that we can exhort and support one another. Some of us, who have gone before our sisters in the journey of parenting have experienced the temptation to fall into the enemy’s trap.
Is it loving to warn a sister of this trap? Or is it unloving?
Sometimes, as parent we blame ourselves, or we look to blame others.
The accident or scenario repeats itself in our mind over and over a million different ways as we hope we would have done something differently. “If only I would have put her to bed, if only I would have taken the time to put that gate up,” et Cetera. It’s as if we actually think that rethinking it will somehow change the outcome, but it doesn’t.
Of course, the more loving thing would be to warn your sister, and support her in being equipped to be alert and aware of the temptations that the enemy will undoubtedly place before her in her mind.
But do we always speak the truth in one another’s lives?
For real? Or is there something that holds us back from true authenticity and love like this?
Sadly, there is. It’s called the quiet fight between women.