Dormant Prayers and New Growth that Emerges
It was like they had all laid dormant.
But then finally growth begins to emerge where simple seeds of prayer had lain buried in the soil of the will of God.
You see, I had met Tahra, a Muslim Bangladeshi woman about my age, last December, while I was trying to coordinate hosting international students in people’s homes for Christmas. Her English teacher had told me she was really struggling with the recent death of her mother, and caring for her 4 year old paralyzed son, and the four year wait for her husband to be able to join her from Bangladesh.
So I called her up and asked if I could come visit her and bring her some food.
I remember pulling up to the small house, the one that housed not only her but several other Bangladeshi families, with all my kiddos in-tow, and saying “Lord, I’m nervous, but I’m showing up. You’re going to have to take care of the rest.”
We ended up having a great conversation, as I know well the overwhelming loss she was experiencing, and I prayed with her and promised to come visit her again soon.
Two weeks later, I found out I was pregnant.
I eeked out enough strength to make a couple more visits, even getting to read Scripture to her and pray it over her son, who lay there hooked up to breathing treatments.
But those visits were few and far between.
Most days I was just barely surviving, without even the strength and energy to feed my own family, much less reach out to Tahra and stay connected in her life.
The guilt pressed in, but the prayers bled out as I laid there on the couch, or bed, or floor and thought about her, and all I wanted to do for her.
Prayers from afar was all I had to offer her.
And in those long months of growing a child, those prayers seemed to lay dormant.
And I asked the Lord, “How is she ever going to know the love and power of Christ, if the people with the Presence of Christ never show up in her life?!?”
And those prayers mingled with guilt and frustration continued to be planted until…
until life started to sprout out of those dormant prayers…
In the slower-paced summer months, I started to regain some strength so I tried to reach out again.
One afternoon’s text: “Hi Tahra! How are you doing? I’m sorry I’ve been so out of contact with you!”
Her response sent my heart soaring….
“What church do you go to?”
was all she said.
“What?!?!“My mind started racing… “Why on earth is she asking THAT? What have you been up to, Lord?!?”
I quickly found out that she had actually gotten a driving ticket and needed to do 20 hours of community service and needed to find a church to do them at.
I most certainly did have a church where she could do them.
It wasn’t quite what I was hoping for, but I would take it!
The next two weeks, the Lord filled a tired, pregnant mamma with supernatural energy to make phone calls, give rides, and help Tahra her get all her community service hours done by the two week deadline.
It was her two week crash course on being a Christ follower.
Through a school supply outreach, she learned why we Christians serve the underprivileged…not because we are earning points with God but because He served us in the Person of Jesus Christ who went to the underprivileged and showed them who God really was, and then died for them so that they could know Him for themselves.
Through helping out with the kids program, she learned that we teach our kids very similar morals to those that her Muslim faith holds dear, but for a different reason….because those morals exhibit the holiness of God, and if His Holy Spirit lives in us, then those will be the morals that come out of our lives as followers of Him .
Through the helping at the food pantry for the neediest of our community…we spoke of our neediness being the best thing for us. We can only truly know God if we bring him our neediness, not our best efforts. Jesus died for sinners in need of salvation, not sinners in need of better rules to follow.
Through working with other Christians at a church dinner, she learned of the kindness of the people who claim Jesus as their Lord.
Through helping with a church service, and she sat and listened to Randy Pope explain how we can listen to God and why we can listen to God-because Jesus lives to intercede between us and a Holy God.
And she witnessed us taking communion in that church service, and as I ushered my kids up to go receive it, I whispered to her that I would explain it all later.
And I did.
But not just to her.
That night as I ate their post-sunset Ramadan meal with them, I got to share the reason Christians partake of communion, the Lord’s supper. with her extended family in that Bangladeshi bungalow. (it was all women…the husbands and fathers were at work)
Starting with the very beginning, in Genesis we talked of the need for death of animals to cover Adam and Even’s nakedness in their sin, then went on to the story of Abraham and the death of the lamb instead of his son, Isaac (not Ishmael, as the Koran says), to Moses and the passover as God delivered them from death and slavery. We talked of the night before Jesus’ death, as he celebrated the Passover with his disciples, and his declaration that all those hundreds of years that the Jews celebrated that feast, it was really all leading up to, pointing to HIM. The Passover Lamb. And we Christians continue to eat of that feast, to remind us, that none is worthy. That we need a sacrifice for us to replace the life-debt we owe for our rebellion. That Christ was that sacrifice, but because He was God and man at the same time, he rose again from death, therefore conquering it once and for all, for those who trust in His Name.
We spoke of the difference between the Koran and the Bible, and the commands that Mohammed gave verses the salvation that Jesus freely offers.
I sang those women the Scripture song I made up for my children.
But now a righteousness from God, apart from the law has been made known, to which the law and prophets testify. This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe-there is no difference… For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace, through redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
And after our three hour discussion, I left that home, rejoicing in the power of prayer to a Living God.
Those prayers had lain dormant for a time.
But, God was waiting.
Waiting for a driving violation.
Waiting for a judge to assigned 20 hours of community service at a local church.
Waiting for some renewed strength for me, so I could show up again in Tahra’s life.
Waiting for the season that He ordained, for the message of his salvation and love to be planted in not just Tahra’s life, but her family’s life as well.
So, while those prayers seemed to lay dormant,
God was working all along.
Waiting for spring, when new life would emerge.
Prayer, too, has its seasons.