“When I think of all this”…of all what? The apostle Paul is reflecting on the spiritual state of the Ephesian church. They were being built together spiritually to become a place where the Holy Spirit could dwell. (Ephesians 2:19-22) Paul was referring to the spiritual building process that was still going on. He felt the need to pray for them.
I am reminded of a time when I was urged to pray for others. It was a youth mission trip I chaperoned many moons ago.
We were working with the inner city children in Mobile, Alabama. We were housed in the dorms at the University of Mobile. Every morning we would load up activity buses with the teens and make the hot muggy drive into the inner city YMCA’s and Boys and Girls Club gymnasiums to assist with their day camps.
The camp that I was privileged to help with was for children ages 6 -12 years old. We played lots of basketball, had group activities for contemporary Christian music that was age appropriate to them, and offered tutoring classes in math and reading. We were allowed to share Bible stories only if they could be worked in as part of the lesson plan. The story of the fish and bread being multiplied was used often.
One of the hardest things for me and the teens to do, was to have no physical contact with the children. We couldn’t hug them, or allow the little ones to sit on our laps. We couldn’t even walk with an arm across their shoulder. That was really, really difficult when a child would run up to us wanting to give us a hug; or when a little six year old would cry and drop to the floor because he heard a loud noise that he thought was a gunshot. My motherly instinct was to cuddle and soothe the crying child. Through it all though, one could see relationships being built between our teens and the tender young hearts of the children hungry for acceptance and affection. There were spiritual relationships being built as the holy spirit whispered His love among them.
I was able to build a relationship that week with the business director there. She was such a sweet spirited older black woman. (I wish I could remember her name. I can see her face so well. I’m terrible with remembering names.)
She had so many struggles trying to keep the club functioning; couldn’t keep staff, kids would drop out because of bad circumstances at home (The little boy that cried when he heard a loud “banging” noise?…It was because he had witnessed his brother getting shot.), monies sometimes were so low that they couldn’t afford to prepare proper lunches for the kids…The list went on and on. Her heart was so burdened for the kids. For some of the kids, the lunch and snack they received at the gymnasiums was the only food they would receive that day.
On our last day at that camp, as the teens were getting back on the bus to head back to the dorms, I felt the need to seek out the director. I felt an urge so strong to pray with her I could hardly stand it. I didn’t know why…I just knew I had to pray with her. We stood on the steps for 15 minutes or more, arms wrapped around each other, weeping and praying. At the end of the prayer, she told me I had been the only person, from any of the churches that had been coming that summer, to pray with her, for her specifically.
I say this not to boast, but to give God the glory. It was the Holy Spirit at work through me. For I was a much more timid person back then.
Again, in studying the scriptures anew, the Holy Spirit is showing me how He has worked and is still working in my life, continuing to build a spiritual relationship, continuing to whisper to me.
14 When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, 15 the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. 16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. 20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. 21 Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.
“When I think of all this”…when I think of all this I am reminded how we all, everyone, believers and unbelievers, are works in progress. I’m thankful to know there are folks praying for me too.
Dear reader, know too that I have prayed for you, some by name if I see that you are following “Whisperings of Grace” and others by unspoken names, trusting God has led you to this site for reasons only you and He know. Drop a comment for your prayer need. I’ll be happy to include the specific need in my daily prayers.
Prayer: Holy Father, thank you. Thank you for bringing to mind that we all need to “think of all this” and remember those who are struggling with their spiritual relationships, as well as their physical needs. Father there is one reading this whom you know by name who especially needs your touch today. Give them the peace and guidance they seek at this moment. In your precious Son’s name I pray. Amen.