One of my favorite books on prayer, Quiet Talks on Prayer, relates a story from DL Moody’s evangelistic ministry. The story hinged on one woman’s prayers during a season of sickness. Homebound and heartsick, she found instead a greater calling to deepen her prayer time. She spent time in prayer for her church, for the services, and for salvation of the lost souls in her community.
After reading a story about Mr. Moody and the work he was doing in the United States, she was convinced in her heart to pray that He would come to London. Her prayer became an almost daily petition. For more than year, she prayed specifically that he would come to London and preach in their church. Yet during all this time she had no sign that her prayers would be answered. No encouragement. No confirmation. Nothing.
Out of the blue one day, her sister came home and told her that Mr. Moody had preached in their church that very morning! Incredulously, she prayed and fasted even more that afternoon. During that evening service many people were saved. Over the next ten days, quite unknown and unplanned to anyone but this one dear lady, a revival broke out in their church and community, and over 400 people came to know the Lord as their Savior. The Lord allowed this one lady’s prayer to be answered in a mighty way through Mr. Moody’s ministry in that church and no one but God and this lady knew about what set things in motion.
This story inspires me – what about you? As I read this encouraging story, my thoughts travel to the many difficult seasons we can ride during motherhood. So while this story should encourage those who are ill and homebound, I also believe it should encourage all of us who find ourselves restricted in our church service during any season. I am reminded of the times that I have had to change my service to my church when my children were young. The many illnesses passed around during that time seemed to create the need to be home almost every other Sunday and out of commission for regular and active ministry service. Having to let go of responsibilities because I was overwhelmed with caring for my family was a difficult thing because I felt like I was letting so many people down.
But friends, have you thought about what God could do with an army of young mamas who may be homebound with little ones but who would dedicate themselves to praying? Maybe you are a mom who can’t take on one more thing. Maybe you work a job and have no time to take on any church ministry because you need that time for your family. Perhaps you could devote yourself to specific prayer for those who are out doing the ministry you might long for!
I Thess. 5:14-18 And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
Romans 12:12 Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in .
So here are a few thoughts:
- · Can’t make it to church Sunday morning?
Pray for the Pastor and church staff to be filled with the Spirit and for ears to be opened to the truths of God’s Word.
- · Can’t make it to church Sunday night or Wednesday night?
Pray for those who work with the children who are there as they study Bible verses, or learn Missionary stories, and the shaping of these children's life story.
- · Can’t visit the sick or shut in or widows? –
Pray for them by name, and ask God to heal, encourage and meet needs.
- · Can’t bake the cookies or the muffins or make the meal for the family who needs it?
Pray for the family that is receiving the meal, or the visit with the cookies.
- · Can’t make the women’s meeting, conference or retreat?
Pray for the women attending and those who are leading that they walk with God and are lead by His Spirit.
- · Can’t teach a Connect Group, Small group, or Sunday school class?
Pray for the groups that are meeting and those needs in each of those small groups. Pray for encouragement and spiritual growth for those leading those groups.
- · Can’t sing in the choir, or play and instrument?
Pray for those musicians as they dedicate their talents to Jesus for His use and His glory.
- · Can’t work in the nursery on a consistent basis?
Pray for those workers that they stay healthy and well, and that they show those little ones Jesus’ love.
- · Can’t help with that community event or ministry opportunity?
Pray for the event to be a success to reach the lost and to join in community with those who are disenfranchised or unengaged and who need Jesus.
- · Can’t go on a short term mission trip, or to the mission field?
Pray for those who are on the field already serving – learn their names and their stories, pray for those who do go on those trips that they are spiritually ready for what they will encounter and ask that Satan be bound from destroying the work.
As you can see, there is still active service for those of you who find yourselves home more than at church. Be encouraged – you still have an incredibly important role in ministry during this season. Seize the task and apply yourselves wholeheartedly to it. You may never know this side of Heaven how you influence the Kingdom, but you can rest in the knowledge that you have done your part in obedience to God's Word!