Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Confessions of a Prayer Warrior

Be Careful what you Pray for
 “…A destruction is determined, overflowing with righteousness." Isaiah 10:22
            A friend of mine was very concerned about her son. She was a very close friend and her children were almost like my own. I loved them dearly and they loved me. I have known them since they were babies.

This particular young man seemed to flounder a bit in his young adult years. He was unhappy at his work and started spending more and more time with the wrong crowd. His new friends and his activities while with them were the main source of my friend’s concerns.

 My friend had called and e-mailed me off and on for several weeks with prayer requests for her son. Yet, even with much prayer being offered, he seemed to be going further and further down the wrong path. Then on a particular Friday, she called me again making a heartfelt plea for prayers that God would intervene in her son’s life. I prayed as she had asked and I knew she was praying too! In addition, I sent e-mails to a couple of close praying friends asking them to pray also.

Sunday came as usual. My family attended church as is our normal routine. Sunday afternoon, I received a very strange phone call. The recorded voice on the other end asked for me by name saying that I had a call from the local corrections center, or in other words, the local jail. I yelled for my husband to pick up the phone’s other extension. I had never received a phone call from jail before. I was confused as to why anyone in jail would know my name or my phone number and wanted my husband to be on the phone with me.

My husband and I listened as a female voice informed me that someone I knew wanted to speak with me and she was helping him place the call. My friend’s son came on the phone. He had spent the night in jail because he had been unable to reach his parents. He said he only had five minutes so he quickly explained that he needed someone to be at the jail at 9:00 the next morning which was a Monday, with money to bail him out. He told me that there was nothing any one could do to get him out until then so he would have to spend another night in jail. I assured him that I would try to reach his mother and step father, but if I couldn’t reach them, either my husband or I would be at the jail in the morning. I promised that he would not be abandoned; someone would be there.

Then I called my friend. She didn’t answer her phone so I left her a carefully worded message. I told her that I had heard from her son and I very much needed to talk to her about it. A few hours later, my friend called me back. As I explained what I knew about the situation, she began to softly cry. She told me that she had been at church all morning and afternoon and had gone to bed early the night before. She said she was going to make some phone calls to his friends and see what else she could find out.

 She called back later with this report. On Saturday night, her son and some of his friends had attempted to visit a club. This club had certain days when they did not serve alcohol and would allow people under the legal drinking age of 21 to attend. Actually her son was 21 but some of the others in his group were not. They thought this was one of the nights when the club would admit them all. As it turned out, this was not one of those nights. Her son decided to enter anyway since he was legal age. However, the man at the door accused him of being underage. He argued belligerently that he was not underage and showed his license as proof. Because he was so belligerent or “talking trash” as my friend put it, the man at the door ran a check on the license. 

The check revealed an unpaid speeding ticket and the police chose to haul him off to jail. He tried to use his one phone call to reach his mother and have bail posted but her line had a block against collect calls so his step father was not able to hear anything on the other end and hung the phone up. But my friend’s son thought his step father had refused to take his call. Because all of this happened on a Saturday night, the young man ended up spending two nights in jail over an unpaid ticket. But the experience stopped him in his tracks and caused him to re-evaluate his life.

My children have always said they were caught every time they attempted to get away with misbehavior of any kind because of my prayers. When parents pray, their children better be on their guard because God is a God who hears prayers. The children of praying parents will be caught every time!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


Matthew 27:3-7 tells the sad story of what happened to Judas after his betrayal of Jesus. As you may remember after betraying Jesus for 30 pieces of silver, Judas felt remorse and tried to give the silver back to the chief priests and elders. In doing this, he threw the silver into the sanctuary of the temple. Then he hung himself. The chief priests bought a potters field with the silver.

What are we to conclude from Judas’ actions? To quote one commentary, “Judas’remorse was not for the sin, as committed against God and Christ; but because it brought a load of present guilt and horror upon his mind, and exposed him to everlasting punishment: it was not such a repentance by which he became wiser and better; but an excruciating, tormenting pain in his mind, by which he became worse; therefore a different word is used here than what commonly is used for true repentance: it was not a godly sorrow for sin, or a sorrow for sin, as committed against God, which works repentance to salvation not to be repented of; but a worldly sorrow, which issues in death, as it did in him. It did not spring from the love of God, as evangelical repentance does, nor proceed in the fear of God, and his goodness; but was no other than a foretaste of that worm that dieth not, and of that fire which cannot be quenched: it was destitute of faith in Christ; he never did believe in him as the rest of the disciples did; see John 6:64, and that mourning which does not arise from looking to Jesus, or is not attended with faith in him, is never genuine. Judas's repentance was without hope of forgiveness, and was nothing else but horror and black despair.”

But there is another reason Judas did what he did with regards to the thirty pieces of silver - it fulfilled scripture. Zechariah 11:13 foretold this when he wrote:

“Then the Lord said to me, ‘Throw it to the potter, that magnificent price at which I was valued by them.’ So I took the thirty shekels of silver and threw to the potter in the house of the Lord.”

And what was this magnificent price at which our Savior was valued? Thirty pieces of silver was the price stated in Exodus 21:33 for the life of a slave. That’s the message of Easter, that the King of Kings and Lord of Lords who sits at the right hand of the Father and who has been lifted up above all things on Heaven and on earth, lowered Himself and gave of himself for you and me. His life was valued as that of a slave, His body was broken and His blood spilled out so that unlike Judas, we can believe in Him and know true forgiveness of our sins.