There were two holes in her carpet. We were visiting with an elderly lady while on a college music tour. She wasn’t on the travel schedule so why had our leader had brought us here? We didn’t stay long. I don’t even remember if we prayed together. But at some point our leader gestured to the floor. The carpet was as worn as her old body. I almost missed it but there, on the floor in front of a piece of furniture, were two holes worn deep into the carpet. Later he told us that was where this woman prayed. And we – our music team – were among those for whom she prayed.
She was so elderly, she could have just sat and enjoyed her retirement. Her body was broken, she lived alone, and her world was so small. Yet the words she spoke kneeling on her floor of her tiny home reached directly into the throne room of heaven.
Our leader later told us of another situation. He along with a small group of Christians were traveling in a small plane on a mission trip. Suddenly the plane hit a downdraft and was plummeting to earth. All on the plane expected to die. And then, inexplicably, the plane hit the bottom of the air pocket and began gaining altitude, moments before it would have crashed. Later on this same woman, not having been told what had happened, asked him “why did I feel a need to pray for you at such and such a time?”. That was the exact moment the plane had been about to crash. Her prayers saved their lives.
Years ago, a book was written that pulled back the veil to let us see what was happening in the spiritual realm as people prayed. (1) Battles were being waged. Wars were being fought. And the ammunition was not guns, knives or swords – but prayer. But for many of us, it’s as though we run into battle holding no weapons at all. No wonder we get knocked down and hit on all sides. From our earliest years as Christians we learn that prayer is important. Yet in spite of our best intentions, it often gets left by the wayside.
Why is prayer so hard for us? We often say we will do it and we truly do mean to. But somehow it slips away from us and we find ourselves full of good intentions but empty of prayer. I wonder if that is part of the battle too – just to pray – faithfully, daily, specifically. God says very clearly in His Word, “You have not because you ask not”. God isn’t inviting us to treat Him like a vending machine to get whatever we want. But He does invite us to go to our knees, to seek His face, to present our needs before Him in faith and trust that He will do what is best.
One year we were setting up to begin filming an outdoor water scene and it began to thunder and lightning. We had that location only that one evening so, if this didn’t work out, we’d never have the chance again. We circled up and began to pray. As we prayed, the rain continued to fall. But the moment we said “Amen”, the rain stopped immediately. An unsaved girl was on the set that evening; it amazed her to how God had responded in such a powerful way to our prayer.
God hasn’t always stopped the rain. And planes still crash sometimes. Heartaches happen, loved ones die, and what we pray to not happen sometimes still happens. God doesn’t always say yes to our prayers. And sometimes those “no’s” hurt so much that we often totally miss all the times that God, in His wisdom, grants the “yes”. Because God didn’t do the big things we asked for, we think He won’t care about the smaller things in our lives. But, like a loving parent, He yearns for us to climb up in His lap and ask so that He has the joy of giving to us something we don’t expect.
Maybe one reason God has brought our world to a total stop right now is to help us seek Him. Maybe He has brought our nation to its knees…to bring us to a new place of prayer.
What does your carpet look like where you pray?