The disclaimer posted on my blog informs readers that sometimes I receive free books in exchange for reviews in the READ portion of my blog. I don’t allow this to affect my review, but I want people to know the truth.
Today, I want to give a similar disclaimer about PRAY. For some time, I’ve known God had made me an intercessor—or, as Henry Blackaby puts it, a “knee” in the body of Christ. The same creative, perceptive qualities that make me a good writer also make me a sensitive intercessor. My reading, writing, and prayers have long been intertwined. That’s how the READ.WRITE. PRAY brand came to be.
BUT (this is the disclaimer part): I’m not a prayer expert.I have a deep concern that I not be seen as some kind of super-spiritual person, a person who knew God in way others couldn’t or didn’t. Jesus makes Himself accessible and available to all. He leaves none of us as orphans; He comes to us (John 14:18). And once we know Him by faith, the Holy Spirit gives us constant access to His ear and His heart. So Marti and her prayers are only as special as everyone else and theirs.
This disclaimer follows a sad occurrence. I’m preparing to teach about prayer in November at iGO, Awe Star Ministries’ annual missions conference. It’s one of my favorite events of the year, one where I gain more than I give. But as I prepare, I face battles. Apparently, I need to recognize what I don’t know so I can teach it. Yesterday, God made my inadequacies all too clear.
In the midst of a busy day, I received a phone call. I’d already shuttled children back and forth to work and classes, taught my daughters, and needed some solid writing time. I knew I only had an hour at home before I had to leave again.
The person who called me had a health concern. Now, she often has a health concern, and often blows it out of proportion. I had a busy week with multiple writing assignments looming. I had those excuses—not my Savior or my caller—first in my heart and mind. I listened with half an ear, gave some pat answers, rolled my eyes, and hung up as quickly as I could.
And then—God grabbed my heart. And what He said left me unable to write for the remaining time I had at home. Marti, you plan to teach about “the least of these” and how prayers for them connect to my heart. Don’t you know the one who called you is the least of these? Dear child, if the call had come from a close friend, a church member, or a college student in need, you’d have sounded so different. Your voice would have overflowed with warmth, compassion, and kindness. And you’d have ended the call with a prayer, not a promise to pray and a quick, “Talk to you soon.”
Jesus says when we serve the least of these, we do it unto Him. When we fail the least of these, we fail Him, too. I was impatient with my Lord yesterday. I spoke to Him as if he didn’t matter. I didn’t take time to show Him I care.
Yes, He loves and forgives me. And I know my phone caller will, too. But I wanted to post this to remind you—and myself—that the prayer-connection is much more about Jesus and much less about personal piety. I have knees of clay.
God, when you bring the least of these across my path, help me see You there. I surrender again to use my gifts and my calling in a way that pleases You. In the name of the one who loves and honors the least of these I pray—AMEN.