So encourage each other and build each other up. –1 Thessalonians 5:11 NLT
In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out. –Ephesians 6:18 MSG
Wednesday morning found me plopped in my cozy chair for my quiet time. But I was too worn and weary to focus on praying or reading my devotional materials. The weekend had been busy, but a good busy. I’d spoken at a ladies luncheon Saturday, conducted the worship service at the church where I’m the lay pastor and delivered the sermon on Sunday, and officiated a funeral on Monday. I’d come home after the funeral and took a three-hour nap, which left no time for any other work.
Tuesday I did the usual “miscellaneous Monday” items on my schedule, which took up the entire day. By Wednesday I was, as my grandmother used to say, “all pooped up.”
How on earth was I going to complete four devotionals for a quarterly magazine due that day? I hadn’t a clue what to write. I’d read the assigned Scriptures and studied the commentary notes, but nothing jumped out at me.
“These are the worst Scriptures they’ve ever given me,” I complained to my husband.
I was also dealing with the post-speaking spiritual warfare I usually encounter after speaking engagements.
Add to that lower back and hip pain that had progressively gotten worse over the winter. I’d hoped the arrival of warmer, dryer weather would alleviate the constant ache, but it only worsened. It didn’t matter what I did—stretches, short walks, water aerobics, alternating sitting and standing—I was hobbling and hurting all day long. OTC pain relievers help some, but I have to watch what I take so it doesn’t interfere with my blood pressure medicine.
Growing old ain’t fun.
So there I sat with a heating pad on my back, without the slightest inkling of motivation.
But … it was Wednesday, the weekly prayer day for the Punxsutawney Christian Women’s Conference planning team, of which I’m a member. We’ve gotten close over the 10 years we’ve worked together and now support each other in prayer. Every Wednesday we email our prayer needs to each other.
So I emailed my precious sisters-in-Christ: “Sorry for bothering you so much. This is the time the adversary attacks most viciously—after speaking engagements and sermons, and I delivered three over the weekend. Too weary to fight the battle or even put on my armor.”
To which Margaret replied: “That’s okay. We will cover you with our prayers. Now just rest assured that you are loved, and the ONE who loves you never gets tired.”
Thursday morning I emailed them:
“Your prayers made all the difference yesterday. In the morning I was weary and worn, wondering how I would meet my deadline. I wanted to stay plopped in my cozy chair all day. I had no idea what I was going write on the assigned Scriptures. I faced the day drained mentally, physically, and emotionally.
“This morning I re-read what I emailed you. ‘Was that only yesterday?’ I thought.
“Not only did I meet my deadline of four devotionals (and was amazed at how they came together!), but I took a short walk around the garden after lunch and made a pastoral visit to the hospital in the evening. Where did the energy come from? Your prayers!”
And now that I think of it, my back didn’t bother me at all Wednesday night.
Just like a bridge needs a support system for it to hold up and do what it was designed to do, so do we.
How about you? Do you have a support system?
Thank you, Lord, for those who help us over, under, around, and through each day with their faithful prayers. Amen.
Read and reflect on Ecclesiastes 4:9–12.