Friday, November 6, 2009

Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing." Luke 23:34 NIV


Picking out a single answered prayer incident to share is very difficult. For a cancer survivor, it seems almost sacrilegious not to talk about the numerous prayers answered during that time in my life, but the same could be said for a number of incidents/times in my life.

One thing that has drastically changed in my prayer life recently is that my prayers are focused more on other people and less on me (see Tony C Today post). In that light, I want to share an answered prayer I lifted on the behalf of someone else.

It's a genuine compliment for someone to ask me to pray for them. I know we often use the phrase to the point of near cliche, but I've also come to realize that praying for others was an example Christ displayed while hanging on the cross. Do I really need any more motivation than that to lift others in prayer?

Not that long ago, there were three separate people on my daily prayer list that had lost their jobs. They each had skills that made them very desirable employees, but the state of the economy had caused most companies in the country to freeze any additions. All three were convinced their unemployment could last quite a long time.

Being unemployed is scary enough, but being unemployed and in the 45-59 age demographic can be down right discouraging. I communicated with all three several times each week, and I could sense the disparity as another week came and went. I made the decision to make each man a priority in my prayers, and I would request prayer for them at every opportunity. All three were men of God, and I'm sure were praying for employment daily also.

As another week would pass, my intensity in prayer would grow. God will always provide for us if we submit and have faith; however, I also know the pressures of meeting daily living expenses and providing for your family can test a man's faith under crushing obligations and expectations.

Several months passed with no real prospects for the three. Unemployment figures were spiking, and the outlook was grim. Prayer intensity increased yet again.

Amazingly, in the same week, all three men received job offers! Prayer answered. One of the three actually received job offers from two different places, and each man accepted a job that actually had better pay and benefits than his previous employment. Praise God!

I left out part of this story for a reason, so let me back up for just a moment and cover a deeply personal blessing in all of this. Two of the three men lost their jobs on the exact same day... May 14th. The other had lost his two weeks prior. I was scheduled for a heart catheter procedure on the morning of May 15th. On the same day the two had lost their jobs, one sent me an email of encouragement and the other sent me a text message that evening. The third man came to see me at my office the following week to see how the procedure had gone.

Unfortunately, I didn't get the email until a couple of days after my procedure (pre-BlackBerry), but that fact didn't dampen my appreciation in the slightest. The text message literally brought me to tears. I sat on my couch when it arrived and thanked God for people who thought of others before themselves and prayed that I too could be like that at all times....just like Jesus.

That text came from one of this blog's co-writers, David Johndrow. My drive to be a better, selfless prayer warrior comes from the example Christ gave on the cross...and from the example these three men live in their Godly lives thinking of others.

I know many others prayed for me also (like Dave Tvedt, our other co-writer), and I truly am thankful for each prayer sent on my behalf. I also believe with all my heart that God is using our online connections with one another, as Christians, to provide an opportunity for us to encourage, testify to His love, and to evangelize in His name.

Please allow me the privilege of lifting you up to Him in prayer when a need arises. I'm just an email, tweet, Facebook message, instant message, or text away...oh yeah...I still take phone calls too.

3 comments:

David said...

I was reading the comments on your linked blog from back in August. One of the comment-ees wrote, "Are you struggling? Invest in someone else."

Praying for them is a good start.

So here ware at this place called church - a pile of living stones - those that are sick and need a doctor - a congregation - a fellowship of believers. There are those of us that the world said would never make it, we'd never be men and woman of character for our sins were too great - and yet a prayer changed all that.

Sustaining that change requires care and feeding – it takes relationship with others and renewing our minds in the Word.

Investing in others - I'm banking on it.

Jennifer @ Getting Down With Jesus said...

We're never more powerful for the Kingdom than when we are on our knees in prayer. So often, we (I) get to thinking that my contributions to the Kingdom will come in some "big" thing I've done at church, or some huge ministry I've taken part in.

No. That's not true, is it?

We are we're best used when we're praying to the Father.

So why do I so often underestimate the power of prayer? Hmmm......

Great post, Tony C.

photogr said...

Tony:

I am grateful that you had many praying for you. Had I known, I would have been praying for you too.

The power of prayer from many to God for one can certainly carry some clout in my estimation.

Praying for others in need is what we all should be doing. I know it works in my experiences with others that I have been praying for.