Good Sunday afternoon to you, dear reader. I hope that you were able to spend your morning at peace and in worship. I pray that your day thus far has been low stress and rejuvenating. I want you to spend your day with a mind at rest, not busy worrying, plotting or planning. But just soaking in the brilliance of a day filled with nothing but praise. No agenda. No schedule of to-dos. No workouts. No meetings. None of those tasks that flood the rest of the week. Just a day of ease.
This morning I spent my time reveling in the ease in which I have hoped you too have shared. The morning was quiet and still, one of the first that truly felt like fall. The temperatures here in the north east have finally fallen and the air is crisp. Soon the leaves will start to transform into an array of oranges, reds and yellows. But this morning the landscape is still green even though the air has taken a dramatic plunge. Just the tips of the leaves have started to show that, before we know it, they too will be changing.
The rest of my morning consisted of a walk with Pippy and a visit to my childhood church. I had been missing my original church family members and wanted to make a stop in to say hi. It was good to see people who have prayed me through my darkest of times and still continue to lift me up faithfully. They are true prayer warriors. It is only right that I stop in every now and then to show them that I am improving and to thank them for never forgetting me. Because they don't. No matter how long I have been away, how much time has passed, they continue to carry me to the Lord in prayer. They never fail to send out cards of encouragement. They are steady and steadfast in their love and concern. I am abundantly blessed by their dedication. Words cannot describe how thankful I am for all the years and countless prayers with my name on them that have passed forth from their lips.
There faithfulness has shown a light in my unfaithfulness to be that kind of prayer warrior. I know prayer is vitally important and I know it is amazingly powerful. I have felt the affects of it in my own life. I have been blessed by it. Yet, I still slack off. I don't come to the feet of the Lord as often as I should.
What keeps me from being a mighty prayer warrior? How can I see the benefit and need for prayer yet not put it into fervent action? Where is my burning desire to fall on my face before Jesus and cry out to Him on behalf of those I love?
I am shamed and humbled by one man in particular at my childhood church. His name is Art.
Years ago (five I think), our church distributed "prayer bands." They were light blue rubber, the same style as the popular "Live Strong" bands. We were to trade ours with one person in the church and become the prayer warrior for that person. Every time you caught of a glimpse of your band, the idea was to remember that person and lift them up in a word of prayer.
My band is long gone. I don't know how long I kept it or where it ever disappeared to. Nor do I remember how diligent I was in praying for my band brother. But at least one person in my church never lost their band. They didn't stop praying either.
That one man is Art. And he has been praying for me.
For five years Art has worn that band without fail. It goes everywhere with him. It is wearing thin and hanging on by a thread, or maybe more appropriately, the grace of God. He keeps praying for me everyday. That band has been a staple of his wardrobe and a key part of his prayer life for over five years.
Here I am, going about my day, not thinking about what obstacles Art might be facing. I rarely remember to lift him up in prayer. I don't talk to him on a daily, weekly or even monthly basis. We aren't related by blood or marriage. I don't even know his phone number. Yet he is out there praying for me every single day. He is taking my needs to the foot of the cross. He is lifting me up in the name of Jesus Christ. He is my prayer warrior, my guardian angel here on earth.
So, although this sounds paltry in the light of a blessing of such magnitude, thank you Art. Thank you for never forgetting me. Thank you for speaking my name in a prayer and sending it to the Lord most High. Even when you didn't know what my precise struggle might have been or particular trial, you kept speaking to God on my behalf; petitioning to the Lord for me to recieve abundant blessing. How can I ever thank you enough?
I have not always known it was you who was praying, but I have felt your words. I have been overcome with the love of God and experienced His pouring out of mercy and grace in my life. I have seen Him orchestrate the unexplainable right before my very eyes. I know He has heard your prayers and answered them. He has shown Himself in mighty ways. He has shown up even when I didn't ask him to. Little did I know that you, Art, were the one asking. When I didn't think to fall at my Lord's feet, you did. You went to the foot of the cross wearing a band in my name, asking God for things I didn't even know I needed. You prayed for blessings and He has delivered. You prayed for my healing of body and soul, and He has restored me.
I am the woman I am today because of the prayers of Art and the prayers of a little church on Lord Road. The thought of a life without the support of my faithful prayers warriors is unimaginable to me. I have been abundantly blessed because they have been mightily faithful.
This morning, as I continue to enjoy the peace and tranquility of a restful Sabbath, I will do so overcome with the blessing of a church that loves me unconditionally. My life is forever changed because they have been forever faithful. Thank you New Life. And thank you, Art. I love you all dearly.