Monday, September 2nd
By: Steve Martin
For many years, my patients would tell me about things going on in their lives and I would tell them that I would pray for them. Most of the time I would follow through later in my personal time with the Lord. Admittedly, there were times I would get busy and forget about praying for them. A few years ago, I decided to get serious about praying for others.
Last winter, I saw a patient named Nancy for an appointment. I could tell she was distressed and when I asked how things were going, she filled up with tears. She told me her daughter, had been treated for breast cancer one year ago and the cancer returned. Nancy was distraught that the prognosis was worse this time around and was angry because she felt the surgeon had missed some of the cancer during the surgery. Also, his reconstruction was not great. We talked for most of our appointment and I’m not sure we even did the procedure she had come in for.
After her appointment, I asked her if I could pray for her and, though I don’t remember everything I prayed, I do remember saying “Lord, all of creation sings of your glory. Please reveal yourself to Nancy through nature and surround her with your love.” After the prayer, Nancy looked up at me with tears in her eyes and said that it was the most beautiful prayer she had ever heard. She gave me a big hug and left the office with a smile on her face. I could tell something had shifted for her in that moment.
Several months went by and I called to check in on her. She said the surgeon got everything, the reconstruction was beautiful, and they had confidence she would do well long-term. Nancy went on to say how moved she was by my prayer and that day was a turning point for her. She said that the trees in her backyard had bent over after some heavy snow and were in the shape of a heart. Every morning she woke up, saw the heart shaped trees and remembered my prayer about how creation sings of God’s glory. They were a daily reminder of how much God loved her and that my prayer was “the nicest thing that anyone had ever done for me.” I almost dismissed that as flattery, but I believe that God had truly moved Nancy in a way that she had possibly never been moved before. For her, my prayer was a move of God and it wasn’t something I could dismiss or minimize.
Sometimes praying on the spot takes a little courage. Sometimes it takes a lot. From time to time, I still fall back on that old, partially reliable “I’ll pray for you” line. However, these opportunities are precious and God is able to change circumstances when we pray from the heart. When we let those moments pass by, we may miss the opportunity to allow God to move someone. What God wants us to to do is to respond immediately in prayer to all the people and the circumstances he places before us. I’ve found that when we do that, we can expect an amazing move of God to happen.