Not long ago I received a text message from a man who’s been attending our church for as long as I can remember.
In it, he described how his wife had been hospitalized and was awaiting surgery. He wanted to get a care plan in place so when she was released everything would be running as smooth as possible.
I called him and talked through the plan. He updated me in the following days with her status. Information was exchanged over a week or so until I saw him at the church that Sunday.
He talked me through everything. All of it. What led to the hospital visit, what they did for her there, the plan afterwards, literally every detail.
I stood there with him and finally something clicked…
The voice in my head screamed, PRAY WITH HIM.
I called him by name and said, “Let’s pray for your wife.”
We prayed together for about a minute or less. We asked God to continue healing her. We prayed that the care plan would work out the way they needed it to. We prayed for the finances to come in to cover all expenses.
When I looked up at him, he looked at me with tears welling up and spilling over and half-spoke / half-whispered, “Thank you, Pastor.”
How different would the gospels looked if Jesus would have used one of today’s favorite Christian catch phrases?
You know what I mean?
People crowding in around him, bringing their sick family and friends to him and instead of acting immediately he says, “Wow bro, yeah that’s tough… But hey, seriously, I’ll be praying for you.”
The Roman solider approaches Jesus and asks for healing for his servant.
Jesus responds, “For sure man, I’ll be praying for you.”
The father of a daughter who has been ill and eventually dies is begging Jesus to come to see her and bring healing.
“You know, I’m super busy, but hey, just know this, I’ll be praying for her.”
Why did it take me so long to just stop and pray with this guy in the first place?
Why all the minutia? Why did I skip the essential act of praying with him for the trivial?
I don’t know.
But I know I don’t want to do that again.
When someone is going through a rough time, now, right then, in that exact moment is a wonderful time to pray with them.
When our youngest son, Nolan, was recovering in the hospital it meant the world to my wife and I when people would come and visit us.
Some were planned, others just dropped in.
We were thankful for both.
We felt cared for in present tense. It was real. It was right when we needed it most.
God help me be immediate when showing care and concern for others.