How to Make It To “Until”?
When Prayer is Your Only Option – Part 5
I’d finally made it to the hospital, gotten parked, and walked towards the hospital entrance. On my approach, our friend’s wife met me at the entrance. She prepared me for what to expect when I entered her husband’s SICU room. But before I get to that, his wife has been camped out on the bench outside the hospital for days. Due to COVID19 restrictions, she could only visit him at 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. In-between those times, she was outside waiting for the next visitation hour. This happened day after day. Can you imagine being in her shoes? Well, I can. By the way, that’s called “compassion.” This sight and thought of her sitting and waiting, fueled me to pray with much more intensity. Knowing that she was doing this day in and day out, made me take the situation more seriously. That’s what happens when you pray with compassion.
We do whatever’s necessary when it comes to prayer.
This wife hanging around waiting is what prayer should look like. It doesn’t make sense for her to sit there and can’t enter day in and day out. She could only see her husband during a one hour window and go back to waiting for nine hours before being able to see him again. What she was doing didn’t make sense, but when it’s your loved one and if it’s important enough to you, you wait too. You’ll do whatever’s necessary.
Society doesn’t believe that prayer can change the situation, that’s the normal response, but will you do it anyway? Will you pray at 10 am and 8 pm with no assurance that the situation could change? Will you have such concern for someone as our friend had for her husband? Her stance is the perfect picture of what praying without ceasing looks like.
“One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up.”
You see, in this experience, giving up is the person who goes home. Giving up is the person who isn’t willing to be uncomfortable while their spouse is lying in the hospital. Giving up is common. Therefore common is the person who is not willing to sit for hours waiting just to get a few minutes with their spouse. Common is the person who is unwilling and not disciplined enough to pray for their friend twice a day.
We must follow through on our prayer assignments.
At this point in this message is where I’m a little hesitant about what I’m going to share with you, but this feeling of hesitation is confirmation that I should. Fortunately in this example, I already know the outcome.
Let’s go back before the hospital visit occurred. I heard these words from God in my thoughts, let’s go into “two-a-days.” Let me explain what that means. God was saying…I must pray for our friend twice a day. To be more specific, I must pray at the visitation hours each day; that’s 10:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. for SICU. So in agreement, I said God I can do that, but how long must I do this? The last time I was on such a prayer assignment, it lasted three years.
So I asked how long would I have to pray? His response was a shocking one word. “UNTIL…” Until? Until what? “Until something changes.” Wow! I felt like what I could only imagine Moses feeling like when God said to him, tell them “I AM…” is who sent you. “I AM…?”
My first thought was this could take some time. It could be a year, two years , or ten years. Recall, he’d had a stroke and the worst of it was losing his sight. According to the doctors, his sight is not going to return and I’d be stuck praying the rest of his life or mine. Until, Lord? “Yes, until you see results.”
We pray harder when we receive any signs of progress.
As I made my way to his SICU room, I was caught by surprise. If you’ve ever visited ICU to see a patient you’re probably familiar with my expectations. A person laying in bed fighting to live just one more day or even one more minute. With my friend having experienced a stroke, I’d expected him to have problems with at least one side or portion of his body functioning as it normally did prior. His wife had also prepared me that he would not be able to identify me until I spoke. Picture it in your mind.
However, this picture isn’t what I stepped into. Instead, our friend was on a phone call and seated in the chair next to the ICU bed. He immediately acknowledged me and knew who I was. In fact, he referenced the time on the analog clock on the far wall as well as the two teams playing basketball on the adjacent television. Between the time his wife last saw him and the time I visited which was only a few hours, his sight had improved greatly. With this improvement and success, I didn’t think for a moment to stop praying, but rather pray even the more. Allow me to encourage you that when you see results, don’t be tempted to stop, but rather pray harder.
That day I spent hours with our friends. Upon leaving ICU, I made my way back to his wife, gave her a report of how he was doing, encouraged her a bit, and prayed for her at her request.
Fast forwarding just a few weeks, it was Easter and we invited our friends to church. After it was over, we had an opportunity to catch up. His sight today is much better and we owe it all to God. In a bit of an emotional reunion, I asked him how he was doing and his response went something like this. With a smile on his face, he quipped we’ve made it to “until.”
When we received a thank you card in the mail from them, Pamela and I are overwhelmingly grateful we got to participate in their story, we got to pray through their thirty-thousand-foot prayer.
Question: are you willing to make the commitment to pray until?
Reference #1: Luke 18:1 NLT, Bible.com, accessed April 15, 2021, https://www.bible.com/116/luk.18.1.nlt
Reference #2: Exodus 3:14 NLT, Bible.com, accessed April 16, 2021, https://www.bible.com/bible/116/EXO.3.14.NLT
All Scripture references used by permission, see our Scripture copyrights.