It was, I suppose, the most unorthodox of prayer meetings. Most prayer meetings are conducted in the lovely confines of a church or perhaps in the sawdust of a gospel tent. But this one was harder to get to. You had to pass the front of the nursing home, go down the backside, brush past the prickly holly trees and carefully step over the poison ivy to arrive.
We had a friend with us, Dana and I, a gentleman who has been part of our church for more than a decade. He got saved at our church altar at 69 years old. It was his wife we were "visiting." Thanks to the COVID-19 restrictions, no one could go inside to visit. So it was that we bushwhacked our way to her window and knocked on it to get her attention.
Behind us at that point was 15 feet or so of low-lying brush and, past that, some neighbor's backyard.
When Mrs. Dot saw us, she beamed from ear to ear. We motioned to her phone and called her. When she answered it, we put her on speaker phone so all of us could talk and catch up. It was a wonderful time of fellowship. Just before Dana and I withdrew to let her husband have a few private minutes with her, we asked her if we could pray with her.
She said yes, and so we did, good and loudly. God could have heard us if we whispered; we wanted to make sure she could hear us, though.
When I said "amen," we were all a bit startled to hear another "amen" from behind us. We turned to see the neighbor leaning on a rake. "I hope you don't mind. I joined in with you in that prayer," she said, smiling.
Mind? Oh, no, not at all!
That was a couple of weeks ago, and I still smile every time I think of that prayer meeting. No carpet, no air conditioning, no ushers, just pray-ers bringing prayers to where they were needed most, and having another unexpected heart join in.
These times in which we are living are, to put it mildly, challenging. If I were to be a bit more descriptive, I would be inclined to say that 2020 has been like trying to floss the teeth of an angry great white shark.
But the difficulty of the year has not made the needs of people go away. In fact, it has exacerbated those needs. And that being the case, it is incumbent upon everyone, but especially followers of Christ, that we go above and beyond just normal efforts to meet the needs around us. We simply need to make a way.
In Matthew 26:36-39 we read, "Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt."
This was Jesus at the beginning of his darkest hours. And it is during that horrible time of pressure and stress, the time when he sweat as it were great drops of blood, that we find the intriguing phrase "he went a little further."
Then he did so a second time. Then a third time. And he just kept on going "a little further" until that little further took him to Pilate's judgment hall, then Calvary, then into the grave, then out of that same grave three days later. During the most trying of times, he just kept going and kept going. He made a way when it was needed the most.
Make a way. That family in need in your community? Make a way. That hardened sinner in need of the Gospel? Make a way. That missionary who needs to get to the field? Make a way. That loved one in the nursing home? Make a way. That child in need of a course correction? Make a way. Those improvements needed in your marriage? Make a way. That gap that needs filled at your church? Make a way.
Follow the example of Christ: Just keep going a little further and a little further and a little further until the need is met.
In times like this, you can make excuses or you can make a way.
Make a way.
Bo Wagner is pastor of Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, North Carolina, a widely traveled evangelist and the author of several books available on Amazon and at www.wordofhismouth.com. Email him at 2know email@example.com.