As my son and I walked along the boardwalk one morning on a recent family getaway, I encountered an older lady I knew from a previous season of life walking past intently. We walked past each other and then I was redirected, as if by Spiritual intervention. About ten metres behind her, I called out, “Anne Platt... it’s Steve Wickham.” She stopped, turned and then embraced me.
Having followed our story of the recent months, she offered her sincere condolences and sought to comprehend how I was going. Anne wrote Whispers From Heaven having lost her husband, Bob, to cancer. Having been touched by God’s ministry to her in her grief she faithfully chronicled her journey for others. Anne had previously been such an encouragement to me in my role as a children’s pastor.
This ministry of encouragement to me was during the very midst of her grief.
It was very clear to me, then, now about ten years ago, that Anne had been so transformed by God’s grace, she was now an eternal being loaned to earth for the remainder of her time.
As we spoke this particular morning – present day – there was much gold shared. One little priceless nugget we both agreed that we had seen and experienced was this: we are/were carried by God’s grace, through the sorrow, by a peace that transcended our understanding, because of the prayers of many others.
‘Because’ is the very operative word. We never knew when people were praying for us, but we were always unconsciously or subconsciously aware of the grace that had been given to us in being able to experience joy in suffering, hope in the despair, and, peace despite the unparalleled lack of control our realities were impinged by.
Prayer works. It cannot be explained, but when we feel ‘carried’ – and we are carried by grace alone through faith alone – we are simply to be thankful.
Being carried is managed by the simple fact of knowing we are being carried by others’ love – their prayers manifest in the kindness of affection. We must, however, believe by faith that 1) people are praying, and 2) their prayers are making a significant difference.
Prayer is the reason we feel carried by God’s grace through faith. Others’ prayers that intercede for us we are so grateful for. Each person who obeys the Spirit and prays for another who suffers is heard by God. And God honours such a prayer.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.