Sunday, August 14, 2011

Rough patches

Far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you. - 1 Samuel 12:23 (NIV)
The dirt road coming in our lane can get rough. Melting snow, hard rains, and traffic all contribute to potholes and soft sections of the road where the dirt gets washed away. Last winter was so bad that my husband dug a small channel across the lane to divert the runoff from melting snow and ice to the ditch alongside.
Problem was the more runoff and traffic, the deeper the channel got, and the more I had to slow down, nearly stopping. I complained—nicely—to him until he shoveled some gravel in so it wouldn’t be so deep. But the loose gravel eventually succumbed to relentless spring rains and tires dipping in and out, creating a rough patch I can’t avoid.
But rough patches have become a blessing to me. They serve as reminders to pray for others who may be going through a rough patch. And we all have rough patches we go through at one time or another. We all have “stuff” in our lives—stuff we don’t talk about because it’s too personal, too complicated, too embarrassing, too whatever. We all need prayer to get us through the stuff—the rough patches.
We all have needs—spiritual, physical, mental, emotional, financial—we all have relationships that need smoothed out, offenses that need forgiven, bad habits to overcome. We all need someone to sprinkle in the gravel of hope in the rough patches of life.
So when I drive to town, I pray for the people I know who live in the houses I pass. One day I passed the house of a former teaching colleague. Pray for her popped into my mind. So I did—then and every time I passed her house. A few months later she told me that she’d been going through a rough patch.
We are to pray for one another, whether friend or foe, and to pray without ceasing. But you don’t have to pray only during your daily prayer time. You can pray wherever you are, whether you’re at the sink doing dishes, outside mowing grass, or driving to town. God hears you. You don’t have to remember all the prayer requests on lists that get longer by the day. Simply ask God to bring to mind someone who needs prayer. And you don’t have to know the “stuff.”
Next time you have to slow down for a rough patch, don’t grumble—pray!
Thank you, Lord, for the rough patches in the roads I travel. They remind me to pray for others who are going through rough patches in their lives. Amen.
IDEA: Don’t know how to pray for others? Why not pray the blessing in Numbers 6:24-26 or the prayer of Jabez (1 Chronicles 4:89-10) for them?

Special-Tea: Read 1Timothy 2:1-8

1 comment:

  1. So true, Michele. You always encourage me. This morning a few people at church asked how I was and I said, "If I told you, I'd have to kill you." They didn't like that idea! (Neither did I. I'd already avoided killing one person before 9:00 a.m.) And I added, "This is why we have unspoken prayer requests."
    Love your phrase "gravel of hope!"