31 Days of Hope – Day 12
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus Philippians 4:6-7
Whether you are facing life from inside the four walls of a nursing home or the four walls of your apartment or house our need for God’s help doesn’t change. There are hours we all pass through when we have lost patience and through tears of frustration hope seems far away. But God’s presence and promise to take care of us as our shepherd and provide for our needs hasn’t changed.
At that very moment when we can feel the dark shadows closing in around our world God stands close and anxiously waits for us to leave our anxieties and needs at His feet. He will not stop caring for us when the cares of life press in. He will not abandon us when we feel alone. He hears our worried thoughts and listens to our prayers. He stands ready to come to our aid. He has not failed, forgotten us or written us off. Our great Savior guides us through every night and carries our hope in His hands.
This is day 11 of 31 days of Hope. The hymn In the Garden begins with the line “I come to the garden alone – while the dew is still on the roses. That quiet garden time is what we all need to recharge our hearts with hope.
For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not Isaiah 30:15
Hope that will carry us through the battlefield of life is a gift we receive in the quietness of our time alone with God. When Jesus taught about prayer He said:
But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret Matthew 6:6 ESV
Noise is like angry storm water that pours over the dikes in our lives! In Jesus’ day that noise took the form of dawn till dusk work days, family expectations and the corrupt Roman government’s demands. Maybe your noise comes from TV or continually checking your status on social media. Whenever it enters, the sounds of this world have a way of blocking out the still small voice of Jesus. When we hear more of what everyone else thinks than what God has to say we rush into our day without the spiritual reserves of quietness and hope. God is waiting to give us hope and His strength for what lies ahead. So when you go to that quiet secret place with your heavenly Father, please – don’t forget to close the door!
One day Jesus told his disciples a story to show that they should always pray and never give up. “There was a judge in a certain city,”he said, “who neither feared God nor cared about people. A widow of that city came to him repeatedly, saying, ‘Give me justice in this dispute with my enemy.’ The judge ignored her for a while, but finally he said to himself, ‘I don’t fear God or care about people, but this woman is driving me crazy. I’m going to see that she gets justice, because she is wearing me out with her constant requests!’” Luke 18:1-5 NLT
For those just beginning in nursing home ministry one challenge is to learn how and what to pray for the residents. The response of some has been to give up. The nursing home seems so filled with needs. There are sicknesses, infirmities and loneliness on every hand. What are our small resources of faith in the face of so much struggle? When we aren’t sure where to begin a journey sometimes the easiest answer is not to start.
On the other end of the spectrum there are some who feel so motivated to help that they are ready to patrol the halls asking anyone they meet if they can pray for them. But effective prayer can only be built on the two legs of relationship and respect. In the story that Jesus told we discover a woman who daily went to a judge to help her with her legal woes. It may not have looked like the relationship we hope to build with our special people, but she did it the same way that we need to do.
First, she built a relationship with the judge and became a part of his daily life. Every morning as sure as the sunrise and his first cup of tea, the judge would hear a knock at his door, “Give me justice in this dispute with my enemy!” she would cry. Every morning he began to anticipate her visit. In the same way we can also become a positive part of the life of someone who has moved into nursing care. Whether we are the hair stylist, nutritionist, chaplain or nurse we each serve a need in that person’s life. If you “never give up” in your relationship building the day will come when they will ask you to pray. They will tell us what they are praying for and when our prayers agree with theirs amazing things can happen!
The second leg of effective prayer is respect. Though the woman was persistent in her requests to the judge she never treated him with disrespect. She in fact gave him the honored position in her life of being the only person powerful enough to help her with her problem. When we give the respect of really listening,people will know and respond. Others sense when we are just being polite and when we really have an interest in them. Only Jesus can meet their every need,but when we build relationships and treat people with respect, they will tell us how they need us to pray and open their hearts to the one who can give them the answers that they need.
What a friend we have in Jesus – All our sins and griefs to bear
What a privilege to carry – Everything to God in prayer
Love this clip because it shows people praying in all kinds of ordinary situations that we all face. This was banned from cinemas in the United Kingdom. I think that now even more people will watch it! Be blessed!