Sunday, July 1, 2012

A Long Siege of Prayer

"He is despised and rejected of men; 
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief....
Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows...."  
Isaiah 53:3,4 (KJV)

Zachary loves for me to come in to his room
and listen to the Bible Broadcasting Network with him
on his little clock radio.

Tonight, we listened together as a lady with a pleasant voice read from a Christian Classic book.
She was on chapter 19, so we were coming in to the story not really knowing what was going on.
It sounded like the writer was a missionary in a foreign country, 
and perhaps what was being read was a sort of journal or diary 
written from the author's personal experiences on the mission field.

The story especially held our interest when the story-teller read about 
a character in the story who was missing and thought to be in some type of distress.
The words she read next gripped my attention and got me to thinking.
She said, "We took comfort in having a long siege of prayer."

My mind went to the words in the old hymn,
"What a Friend We Have in Jesus".
I love the verse that says,
'Oh, what peace we often forfeit,
Oh, what needless pain we bear;
All because we do not carry,
Everything to God in prayer."

Next, a scene from the night before flashed before my eyes.

For some reason, it has been rough the past few days.

We have missed Mom so much, it has been near unbearable, at times.
Last night, Zachary was cleaning out some old toys from his closet, 
and he walked in to the kitchen to show me something he had found.

It was an Etch-A-Sketch.

He said, "Mama, Nana got me this."

At first I couldn't remember when.

"At Hamrick's one time.  Remember?"

Did I ever.

Memories of the fun times we'd had in Hamrick's flooded my mind.
She loved to shop there.
They had a wheel chair inside, and most of the time it was unoccupied when we got there.
We would go in, leave her walker at the front desk, and she would enjoy us pushing her through the store, while she shopped in comfort.
She loved their clothes.
She could always find ones that were modest and to her liking.

Zach didn't mind the shopping too much, because at the end, 
he and Mom would head to the small toy department at the back.  
I don't think he ever came out empty-handed.
Mom would always pick up something small for him.
She'd tell him it was because he was so good to help her and push her in the wheelchair.

Last night, he stood at the kitchen counter clutching the Etch-A-Sketch tightly.

"Oh, Mama!", he burst into tears.

I wasn't far behind him.

We'll never do that with her again, was all I could think.

Hamrick's closed a few months back, and now Mom is gone.
All that is left of those happy days are the sweet memories.

Zach walked over to where I was.
"Mama, do you want to go in there and sit on her bed?"

We walked in to the guest room together.

But instead of sitting when we got there, 
we both knelt down, side by side, simultaneously....beside her bed.
And we took it to the Lord in prayer.
We cried.
We poured out our hearts.
We told Jesus all about it.

I guess you could say we had a long siege of prayer.

I felt His presence...very near.
Didn't He promise that if two or three were gathered together in His name,
He would be in the midst?

He was.

Soon, I heard Zachary say, "I feel better, Mama.  Do you?"

"Yes, Zach, I do."

Prayer fixes anything and everything.
It changes perspective.
It brings a deep-down comfort.

Jesus is the sweetest Friend.
He knows how it feels to hurt....more than anyone ever will.
Maybe that is why we are to pray in His name.
Maybe that is why He is the intercessor...between God and man.
Because He well.

I love today's passage of Scripture.
I love the accuracy of Isaiah's prophecies.
Hundreds of years before Jesus was born, God allowed him to see a clear, precise picture....
of what Jesus would do...for you....and me.

He was a man of sorrows.
He was acquainted with grief.

How does one become acquainted with grief?

Through hearing about it second-hand ?
Through reading about it in careful, deliberate, descriptive words?
Through watching someone else mourn?

To become acquainted with grief, one must experience it.
One must walk through the valley of the shadow.
Every stage of it.
Then, at the end, one can earn bragging the experience.
One can rightfully claim intimatepersonal acquaintance.

Jesus was acquainted with grief....on the deepest, most profound of levels.

Isaiah goes on to say that not only was He acquainted with grief...on a personal level.
But, He bore our griefs.
He carried our sorrows.
For us.
So, He could relate.
So, He would know how we feel when we grieve and are sorrowful.
So, we could come to Him, and cry at His feet.
And His tender heart would be moved with compassion upon us and our needs.
Because He remembers....the grief....very well.

He is a wonderful Savior.
He is always there.
He met us last night....Zach and me....two grieving souls, two hurting hearts, 
kneeling Mom's bed.
He came, and He lightened our load.
Once again, He carried our sorrows...
as we made the choice to let it go and hand it over to Him.

I'm so glad He this feels.
How blessed we are to have the privilege...
of having a good, old-fashioned long siege of prayer.

What needless pain are you bearing today, my friend?
He will meet you.
Just pick the time and spot.
He'll be there.

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