Most Sunday mornings after service, the congregation pours through the front foyer and out the front doors of our church like flour through a sieve. Men, women, and children mix and pass – pray, hug, plan, exchange, and depart on to a new week. Most Sunday mornings, I pray we are prepared; I pray we are renewed in the Holy Spirit of Christ Jesus and refreshed by the fellowship of His body for facing that week as I walk through the footprints of this congregation back to my vehicle.
This Sunday morning there were fresh footprints in the snow along the street in front of our church. This Sunday morning a stranger walked in out of the snow and into the body of people swirling around in the flurry of their weekly routines. This Sunday morning, a stranger came seeking prayer with others despite the fact he knew very little English, and he didn’t know if any of us would know his native Spanish.
Jesus said in Matthew 18:19-20, “Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them”. Jesus didn’t say “two or three of you speaking the same language come together in my name.”
This man, working in a foreign land, walked through the cold and snow looking for a church of Christ for prayer over himself and his family. Hibbing, Minnesota is a long way from his home and certainly very different, but God’s people are everywhere, and I believe this is what brought him out that day. What ails and afflicts is universal to all peoples, and he could rest assured God’s people would somehow understand enough, love enough, to agree with him and come together with him in Christ’s name.
“Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.” Romans 12:9-13
Our pastor met him at the door. People sought to understand him. Clunky translator apps were hastily applied. A sister who could translate was finally found. A Spanish/English Gideon Bible was pulled out. There was meeting, translating, sharing, translating, explaining, translating, anointing with oil, translating, and then there was prayer – sweet, faithful, Holy Spirit, Jesus present, heaven bound prayer.
No matter what our language, not one of us may come to the Father except through his son Jesus Christ (John 14:6), and the Holy Spirit will intercede on our behalf in ways we cannot express, in accordance with God’s will, even when we are too weak, cannot find the words, or come to Him in more than one language at a time. (Romans 8:26-27) God knows our hearts.
This Sunday morning, there were footprints in the snow. Our brother came in for prayer. What a blessing his visit was.
Thank you Father! You are so good and true – You are the great I AM. You heard your peoples’ groaning and saw their affliction, and You were concerned. (Exodus 3:7) You are just as concerned for your people today. I am confident that You Are Who You Are, and You will answer the voices and hearts of your people everywhere. Jesus, because of You, our circumstances and infirmities will no longer restrain our souls. When we give in submission to your will, You make us well and give us life. Holy Spirit, through your presence, discernment, and wisdom we can know that we live. Oh how blessed each day is in your presence, LORD!