One of the troubling components of our recent pilgrimage to Israel was the conflicted feelings I was experiencing while there when back at home some very bad news was arriving via e-mail regarding some of our friends. Let me explain- while I was in Israel I was experiencing a place of incredible beauty and a place of amazing biblical significance and importance. On our Friday there I had the privilege of baptizing 4 of our ladies in the Jordan River. I was baptized also in the Jordan River. But that afternoon when we checked into our hotel in Jerusalem I received an email from some very good friends of ours that their 5 year old great grandson had died in a house fire. On Saturday morning we spent our time in the old city of Jerusalem and I walked down the Via Dolorosa and ended up at the church of the Holy Sepulcher. It was an interesting and moving experience but when I checked my e-mail back at the hotel that evening I found another rather sad and heavy e-mail. One of our precious church family members was diagnosed with a serious and life threatening form of Leukemia and was immediately hospitalized. While I was have the time of my life, several close families were having the worst time in their lives and ALL I could do was PRAY.
So that is what I did. I prayed every chance I could. Paul reminds us in the 6th chapter of Ephesians, “With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit and with this in view, be on alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints” (v.18 NASB). He tells the Philippians, “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God” (4:6 NASB). He also reminds the Thessalonians in the 5th chapter of his first letter to that church; “Pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (v. 17-18 NASB). Never, ever minimize the importance of praying. Even on the other side of the world I could seek God for those who were going through dark times. For though I was far away, God was not.
On the following Monday I went to the Wailing Wall with my prayer requests for my friends. Now I don’t personally believe God hears my prayers any louder and clearer from the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem then He does from my church office in Piscataway, NJ. But what I do know is that when I prayed from the Wailing Wall I was overwhelmed with emotion and brought to tears. I don’t think it was the place that brought the tears as much as it was the subject matter, for my friends who were going through dark tragedies and deep struggles. So know that when all you could do is pray know that God is moving and working and He will use our prayers to change even our own hearts and lives.
All for Christ,