One day Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he finished, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” John 11:1
Beth’s eight hour work day had dragged to ten. Sighing, she laid her meal for one in her grocery cart and turned the corner towards next morning’s coffee beans. Suddenly, an enthusiastic, “hello” and the smell of vanilla enveloped Beth in a hug. It was her religious neighbor, Erin. The one whose i’s dotted with hearts and gushing exclamation points violated all grammar and punctuation rules.
“How are you Beth?” Beth’s gaze shifted to Erin’s artfully designed, environmentally correct, reusable bag. Beth’s own reusable bags were sandwiched somewhere in her trunk between her ex-husband’s love letters, and their divorce papers. Her need for plastic bags was another one of Beth’s many failings, just like her marriage.
Erin gushed on without any response. “Look, Beth I am sorry. I saw the “SOLD” sign in front of your house. I’d like to invite you to a small group I lead and I’d love for you be a part of it.” Beth nodded and as her eyes filled with hot tears, she decided two things: she wasn’t going to Erin’s religious zealot’s group and she now hated the smell of vanilla coffee beans.
Prayer is commission. Out of the quietness with God, power is generated that turns the spiritual machinery of the world. When you pray, you begin to feel the sense of being sent, that the divine compulsion is upon you. E. Stanley Jones
“Beth, I want to pray for you.” Beth shifted uncomfortably. “Here? Now?” Why couldn’t she have bumped into Erin in the frozen food aisle? People had shorter conversations there anyway. Without hesitating, Erin steered their carts, leaving their groceries to the side. As they stepped out into cool evening, Erin went from conversation to prayer.
Sweet words of God’s forgiveness made Beth bite her lip so she wouldn’t cry. Nothing worked and the pent up pain, released a flow of tears that rained down on their clasped hands.
“He is your Abba, Father and loves you as a parent. ‘Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, God will not forget you!’’
Erin’s prayer ripped the scab from her soul. Sobs for an unlovable woman who saw her baby as a choice and left an abortion clinic, no longer a mother. “Know this Beth, God has engraved you on the palms of HIS hands.”
There must have been an amen somewhere because only the sound of their breathing could be heard. “Beth, Jesus wasn’t repelled by sinners but compelled by love towards them.”
In the months that followed, a quiet peace settled into Beth’s everyday life. For the first time, she felt cherished. Today, when Beth shares the story with her own small group, she is grateful for Erin’s response to Jesus’ divine compulsion and for prayers offered in a certain place.
To honest self acceptance without a rating standard. God loves me and in his eyes, I am BEAUTIFUL.
Sweet sister, what keeps you from praying with someone at that moment? I’d like to do this, I want pray for you. See this little link here. You can overcome that fear of rejection or isolation and write your prayer request there. If you want, I will personally reach out to you and pray with you. Don’t ever doubt this, you are cherished and through Christ, forgiven.