The room was hot. A fan pushed the sweltering 110+ degree air between us as we sat on the floor. When the reading lesson was complete, we were introduced. Shy smiles broke language and cultural barriers. A handful were Christians. Others practiced different religions. I asked several women to share their names. As one young woman spoke, she pointed at her mother, who stood in the back, and tears fell. The interpreter told me that her mother was seriously sick. She couldn’t afford a doctor, and she fell more ill each day.
I wanted to pray for her. If we were in a church, I wouldn’t have hesitated, but we were guests in this community, in this culture, and in this classroom. I wasn’t sure how praying would be received, so I simply pulled her close, hoping she’d know that I cared.
As we started to leave, I sensed the Holy Spirit. It was urgent.
Pray for her mother.
The feeling wouldn’t go away. I lingered at the edge of the room, even as the team started to leave.
“Is it okay if I pray for the young girl’s mother?” I whispered to one of the teachers.
“It’s always acceptable to pray,” she answered.
She asked the girl’s mother to come forward. I placed my hands gently in hers and started to pray. My close friend, Lynn, joined me. She placed her hands over mine. As the words went up, the presence of God sweetly wrapped around us. It was tangible. The mother’s face was wet with tears. Mine was wet as well. As I finished praying and opened my eyes, I found a crowd of women and girls pressed close, their cluster of faces totally expectant.
They wanted prayer too.
We prayed for each woman in that room, some of them twice as they came back for more. When we finally left, it was dark outside. We were exhausted and overwhelmed but in such a good way.
To be honest, I almost missed that beautiful moment. I understand that we need discernment, and it’s important to be respectful in the way we love people, but I also wonder how many times I have allowed fear to keep me from showing God’s love to someone.
Prayer is powerful and we see that in today’s passage.
Moses is in the Tent of Meeting, smack dab in the middle of the wilderness. As Moses talks to God, the glory of God sweeps over the Tent of Meeting. Those standing at a distance are so enthralled, that they can’t help but worship.
“Whenever the people saw the pillar of cloud standing at the entrance to the tent, they all stood and worshiped, each at the entrance to their tent” (Exodus 33:10 NIV).
This is such a beautiful picture of the power of prayer.
We don’t know what Moses was praying about. It’s likely he was praying for the thousands that wandered in the wilderness. God used that time of prayer to reach those very people, showing them that He was real, and drawing them closer to Him.
When you and I feel the Holy Spirit drawing us to pray for someone, it’s natural to feel apprehensive about that. Yet the Holy Spirit knows when it’s the right time. He knows when a heart is receptive, or hurting, or wondering if anyone is aware of their pain. He knows who is standing at a distance, and whose hearts are ready to worship Him too.
As He invites you to pray, it’s not about the words you say. Instead, it’s about the very real connection that God longs to have with that person, and also with you.
Jesus, I’ve allowed fear to get in the way of praying for others, even when there are people who long to feel Your presence. I trust You’ll show me when and who. Thank You for that,
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Now It’s Your Turn
Do you struggle to pray because you don’t have the words?
God knows what those who you pray for need. He can use your obedience in powerful ways. As you pray, He will love them through your simple words.