And the Heavens Were Heavy

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I learned something new about prayer recently. It was during a week when the heavens were very heavy. I’m not talking about weather. But it was a time when there seemed to be a lot of pain, uncertainty and sadness all around. And it wasn’t about me. It was in the lives of so many people. People I knew and loved. People I knew a little and those I didn’t know at all. But the heaviness was there.

I could feel it.

I think that was a gift from God. Not a gift I wanted I’ll admit. But a gift nonetheless.

I was going to be leading and speaking in our worship service and as I prepared for the pastoral prayer, a prayer I’ve done so many times before, it was not like it usually is. I felt the heaviness, the concern, the pain of the people like never before.

I think God did that because my message was on trusting God. And what’s trust  without the need to trust God? What’s trusting God without the struggle that brings us to Him?

So, instead of leading in the pastoral prayer as I usually do I said, “we need to pray about a lot of things and a lot of people right now”. And I shared some of the needs I knew of and I asked for more. And more came. And more. Hearts were expressed and tears flowed.

 And one of our deacons said, “we should lay hands on the people who shared and on Jim as he prays”.  And many came around me and those who had shared prayers and they lay hands upon them. And we wept, and we prayed and we trusted.

And God was so there.

I think God showed me a little of the love and pain and heaviness He feels for His children in their pain.

Fast forward a few weeks to Good Friday. Each year on Good Friday, we end our service with the people coming forward individually to receive communion and prayer. I love this time and I know many people do. It’s a chance to focus on Jesus’ sacrifice and to pray into the tender hearts of His people.

And this year, as I looked into the eyes of those to whom I served communion and prayed for it was different. I usually find God speaks into my prayers at these times. He leads me into boldness and love and passion for His children. But this year the prayers felt heavier, meatier if I may, and I felt His hope in their pain, struggles and lives. 

Thanks to Him who fills our prayers beyond our own ability.


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