“So, what’s new with you since I saw you last?” I asked my dental patient as I seated her in the chair and clipped a napkin around her neck.
“Oh,” she said with a smile, clasping her hands together, “today’s a big day. My daughter’s in labor with her fourth child. They just called me from the hospital.”
“Then why are you here?” I asked, my voice one octave lower than a squeal. “You can get your teeth cleaned anytime. Go to the hospital.”
“No, no,” she said, “It’ll be a while before I can see them. I’ll head over after I’m finished. But if it’s OK, I’m going to keep my phone on just in case they call.”
“Absolutely,” I said, and got right to work.
I had just finished polishing her teeth when her phone vibrated.
“Hello. Yes. Oh no! OK, I’ll get there as soon as I can.” She snapped the phone shut and turned to me with frightened eyes.
“The baby’s been born, but he’s having trouble breathing. They think there’s something wrong with his heart.”
A thousand thoughts swirled in my mind, but one rose to the surface: We’ve got to pray.
One the heels of that thought, however, came a half dozen others: You don’t know if this lady even believes in prayer. What if she doesn’t want you to pray? What if it’s awkward? What if your boss walks by and sees you? What if you get in trouble?
Then the quiet voice of the Holy Spirit stilled the naysayers. That baby needs your prayers. And this grandmother needs them, too.
"Oh, Mrs. B.,” I said, placing my hand on her arm, “let’s pray for your grandson.” We bowed our heads, and I prayed.
“Lord, please spare this baby’s life. Give the doctors and nurses wisdom and skill to care for him. Send your peace to quiet the parents’ frightened hearts. Most of all, glorify yourself in and through this scary situation. In Jesus’ name I ask, Amen.”
“Thank you so much,” Mrs. B. said.
Removing the napkin from around her neck and handing her her purse, I walked her down the hall and out the door.
“Please let me know how the baby’s doing,” I called after her. “I’ll be praying.”
In my 35 years as a believer, I’ve had many opportunities to pray with people in need. Sometimes I do, and sometimes I don’t. Sometimes the situation doesn’t allow me to pray on the spot, and I tell them, “I’ll pray for you,” and sincerely mean it. Other times I could pray with them, but I chicken out. I listen to the voices of the enemy instead of the voice of God and miss the opportunity to speak faith into a troubled soul.
In my lifetime, many people have prayed aloud over me. It's a very powerful experience. These spoken prayers invite God’s power into my situation. They reassure me that someone is standing in the gap for me and calling my name before God’s throne.
Silent, faith-filled prayers are powerful. In many situations, faith-filled prayers spoken aloud are even more powerful.
This is why my goal in 2016 is, whenever possible and appropriate, not only to pray FOR people, but also to pray WITH them. Will you join me?
And if you’re wondering about Mrs. B.’s grandson, he’s now a strong, healthy 15-year-old whose difficult beginning secured him a very special place in his grandma’s heart. And in mine as well.
"For this child I prayed, and the LORD has granted me my petition . . .” (1 Sam. 1:27 NKJV).