I remember one time when I kept waking up in the middle of the night and being very concerned for my friend and his family who lived on the other side of town. I was so burdened that I would get up out of bed in the middle of the night and kneel down to pray for them. But the burden did not lift. Instead it became more intense, in fact, so intense that I got in my car and drove across the city to the other side. When I got to my friend’s house, all was dark and seemed quiet. It seemed in appropriate to knock on the door to see if everything was all right. So I went back home again; I went back to bed.
A little later I woke up only to feel the same way. I got out of bed to pray. The burden got more intense. I got dressed and drove across town only to see my friend’s house in peace. I don’t remember whether I repeated it a third time. Since then that night has become a blur. I found out from my friend the next day that they were so thankful that they had slept so well the previous night. You see, they had been up the three previous nights with a screaming newborn only to brace themselves for another night of the same. When he found out that I had been up half the night praying, he realized that the Lord had me up so that they could sleep.
I remember one other time as I was walking along the road. I had gone for about a one-mile walk to clear my head. As I was walking, I felt a heavy burden for a friend of mine who lived in another country. I was so burdened that I started to pray. As I got home, I still felt very burdened, so I decided to write her a note of encouragement.
I did not know what to write to encourage her because I did not even know what was wrong. I did not feel that I should attempt to call my friend. I decided that I would just write her a general note of encouragement. As I got toward the end of the note, which was rather short, I might add, I started searching the Bible for a verse to go with it. I came across Romans 8:28. In the NIV it reads, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” I concluded that this verse was generic enough that if nothing were going on with my friend, it would be perfectly fine to share with her for encouragement.
I ended up seeing my friend about six weeks later as I was in Canada for the summer. I found out that the note had greatly encouraged her. She had gone out to run an errand at noon one day. While out in her car, someone rear-ended her. To make matters worse, she sued the person for damages to recoup her costs as she was out of work due to medical injuries, even though she did not feel it was biblical to do so. Her sister was the only person from our community who knew that she was in this predicament. When my note came, it freaked her out initially as she did not think anyone else knew about her situation. That is, anyone human. When I assured her that God had communicated this to me as I was out walking, it greatly comforted her that God would raise up someone to pray for her.
We never know what difference it will make when we are faithful to respond to God’s call to pray.
By Ralph Veenstra