"The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective."
The other day a friend called overwhelmed with life around her. Everything seemed to be falling apart. Her husband was spending late nights at work with his secretary working on a deadline. This secretary happened to be 15 years younger and enthralled with her husband Steve's wisdom. Her son recently dropped out of college and felt he needed to take a "break". They were also doing rudimentary changes with staff at her job, and she felt her position may be in jeopardy. "It could not all be happening at the worse time," she exclaimed. "Every morning I wake up and wonder what "shoe" will fall next."
Of course being the good friend I am, I tried to intervene with help and "what-nots" Those would be the what not to put up with at this time. Sensing I was causing more weariness for my friend than aid I decided to quiet down. At this point she said, "Listen, I appreciate your concern, but if I wanted your opinion on this I would have asked. I just simply needed a listening ear and some prayer."
That simple statement propelled me down memory lane. How I hated others offering the "what-nots" when I was upset! Who needs someone babbling when you already know what you should not be doing? Further more, I hated the "what-you-should-have-dones". Those are the good intentions statements such as "My goodness how could you coddle him that much?" "If you would have been tougher, these situations would not be going on right now!" That talk would set that anger spark flaming. I'm already in a "pickle" why are you adding to my pain? Furthermore, those were items I preached on continually. What not to do if you want to keep your friendship intact I once called it. How could I have resulted to this myself?
James teaches that prayer should be our first impulse when he writes: "Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray for him." (James 5:13-14). We should be praying for everything first including friends BEFORE we offer our great wisdom.
At one time I didn't believe every little prayer should be gracing God's ears. I would keep time in the morning and night for such deliveries. I mean, why bog God down right? He has millions of people out there talking his ear off at various hours of the day. But one day I had a new job. I was teaching at-risk youth in a private setting. It was a whole new experience for me. I had taught students like that periodically, but never had so many in one group. Each new day was an effort to find out a common temperament zone that would benefit everyone. My evenings and days were full of strategies to combat unexpected issues that would arrive without warning. I was growing weary one morning just after waking knowing what was coming. I stopped all thinking and called out, "Lord, let it be a good day with the students. Let this day go about uneventful and peaceful." And on that day so it was! Every day afterwards, that was my first impulse each morning. For the remainder of the year God blessed me on most days filling each with peace and trust.
When our initial response is prayer, we've put God in the center of our daily activities. We're telling him, "I trust you, take care of this." Do it often.