Lessons in Growth Meditations: 36. Hearing leads to Action (3)
John 2:5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
We continue pursuing a fictitious example of a listening prayer group and the revelation that came, as an example of how we may cooperate with the Lord, seated with him in the heavenly realms, bringing in the kingdom of God on earth. Let’s move on to see what happened next.
It had been two days after the prayer meeting that Alan had been in his boss’s office talking through various pieces of work. When they came to the conclusion of it, Alan realised there was something he needed to mention.
“Boss, I’ll be off in a couple of days, just for the one day, I’ll take it out of my annual leave. It’s just that my daughter is applying for Uni and we want to go with her to the Open Day of one she has her eye on, if that’s all right with you?”
“Yes, no problem,” the boss replied and then added almost as an aside, “I wish I had got stuff like that happening with my kids.”
“Sounds like it’s not going well?” Alan enquired lightly.
“You’re joking. My boy, the older of the two, is coming up to his A-levels and we just can’t get him to work. And then my wife caught the younger one, my daughter, and she’s only thirteen, talking to a friend on the phone about using Cannabis. I really don’t know about kids today! Who would have ‘em!”
Alan made non-descript noises and made for the door, then paused in the opening, “Mind if I pray for them, boss?”
His boss didn’t answer and just turned back to papers on his desk.
Alan left feeling a little rebuffed – but that night he did remember to pray for them.
It was the day after his day off, when he was back in the office, and again had to talk some business stuff through with the boss. His boss seemed a bit more irritable than usual – which was saying something! – but they talked through the stuff and then as Alan was about to leave his office, his boss said in a casual but nervous, if not embarrassed tone, “Er… I don’t know if you prayed about my kids the other day but there’s been a remarkable change in them in just a few days. My wife has managed to have a good talk with my daughter about the dangers of drugs – which she seemed to accept – and my son suddenly seems to have got down to revising for his exams like there’s no tomorrow.” He winced.
“Are you all right, boss, you look like you’re in pain?” Alan ventured.
“Yes, I don’t know what it is; I woke up with a stiff neck this morning. I can hardly move it and it’s agony!”
Now it was Alan’s turn to feel nervous. “Er… would you like me to pray for it?” he ventured again.
“You can do what you like; I’ll take anything to get rid of this!”
“No, I mean would you like me to pray for you now, here, this minute?”
His boss looked uncomfortable. “Well shut the door then.”
Alan shut the door and went over to his boss. “I’ll just put my hand on your shoulder as I pray, if that’s all right?” His boss said nothing, so he did. “Lord Jesus, I know you love us both and I know you healed anyone who was ill when they came to you when you walked on this earth, so can I ask for you to heal this neck right now. Father, please let it be, in Jesus name. Amen.” His boss said nothing.
Alan opened his eyes and to his surprise saw tears running down his boss’s face and the older man was swivelling his head.
“That’s amazing. How did that happen? The pain’s completely gone!”
“Jesus just healed you because he loves you,” Alan found himself saying.
“Sit down, I need to ask you some things,” his boss replied.
Forty minutes later Alan came out of his office very thoughtful and with tears in his eyes.
Now this may be making some of us seriously uncomfortable. I was recently in a well-known annual ‘Bible Convention’, led by good evangelicals and they had invited a delightful head of a bible seminary to take the morning Bible studies – and she was excellent. On the last one, as a natural outflow of the Bible book we had been following, she suggested that the Lord might want to heal people there, that morning, and graciously turned to the man who had been compering the morning, if that is the right word for such a time, and said, “I’m just a visitor here, how do you want to do this?” I have never seen someone look so discomforted and he replied after a moment, “Well, people can just pray for each other where they are,” which was not a faith-filled answer as she had already spoken about people with real needs coming to the front for prayer. Many of us are good at receiving ‘the Word’ but as soon as it means stepping out in faith, we move to the back of the boat and let the brash Peters of the world step over the side. God delights in His children who ‘risk it’.
Alan, with the sense of high expectation that we mentioned yesterday, ‘stepped out of the boat’ and God turned up. He had already pushed the boat out (to change the metaphor slightly) by offering to pray and when he got no answer, just went home and prayed – and things happened! Because they happened, when his boss was in such pain he was past caring what happened, the way was open for Alan to pray for healing and leave the answer to the Lord – who healed!
I was at a brunch for the vulnerable in society recently and a young man (well a good bit younger than me) walked in, a man I had known some ten years before and whose family and work situation was dire! I noticed that he could hardly hobble his way in, with back and leg problems, so I greeted him and, knowing he had been anti-Christian and had forbade his wife to go to church, nevertheless sought to reach out to him. (We’ll call him Rick.) When I offered to be available to pray for him in private he hedged. “Look,” I said, “the best that could happen is that you get healed completely, the next best is that you get partly healed and the worst that could happen is that nothing happens! You can’t lose.” He still went out refusing prayer. How crazy is that! Make yourself available with humility and gentleness, and the worst that can happen is nothing and they might think you rubbish. The best that might happen is they get healed and might just turn to the Lord. “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” (Mt 6:10) Go for it!