September 29, 2020: The Present of Presence- Jenine Anderson
Updated: Oct 6, 2020
John writes, “So Mary and Martha sent someone to tell Jesus, 'Lord, the one you love is sick.''"(John 11:3 NCV)
"Someone went to Jesus on behalf of Lazarus. And because someone went, Jesus responded! Would you be someone for someone else?” - Max Lucado UpWords Devotional 9/3/20
“Sometimes we undervalue Ministry of Presence – to stand with someone in the darkest of moments and support them in the midst of their pain.” - Bianca Olthoff (Session 5, What the Women Saw)
“Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” James 5:16a
When my friend Andrea was pregnant with her 3rd child, she and her husband received devastating news. Their unborn daughter had a congenital heart defect. If Baby Ellie survived 3 heart surgeries before the age of 12 month, she had a 50% chance of living to the age of 5 years old. Did they want to put a newborn through open heart surgery so young when the odds weren’t great? Would it be more kind to let her pass shortly after birth and save her from that pain? They had to make choices no parent should have to make. Being on the other side of the country, I felt helpless. My physical presence couldn’t cook meals for them, help clean their house, or babysit their sons. There was nothing I could do to help. Or was there? I prayed. Hard. I also let her know I was there for her by sending snail mail (who doesn’t love getting mail when it’s not bills?) and gifts, and a care package to the hospital after Ellie was born. I also continued to pray.
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. I prayed for small milestones to be met.
Term pregnancy – check.
No birth complications - check.
Steady hands for the surgeon working on a tiny 4 day old heart – check.
I prayed for peace for her parents and for their marriage to withstand the stress.
I prayed for Ellie’s two brothers to not feel abandoned by their parents or resentful of their baby sister monopolizing so much of their parents’ attention.
I was not helpless, I was doing the most important thing I could do – cover them in prayer. Praying for “healing and peace” wasn’t enough for me. I asked Andrea for specifics. What does Ellie need *right now* and prayed.
Ellie is now 8 ½ years old and doing well. The prayer quilt the Prayers and Squares ladies made and prayed over is still on Ellie’s bed and she knows that people in AZ prayed for her. There is power in prayer and power in the present of presence.
How can you expand your ministry of presence?
How can you specifically pray for those around you who are hurting?