Please read Day 18 - “Random Acts of Kindness” in the Why Pray? Book. John DeVries writes, “The light of God’s love on a home is rather faint if all we do is pray…. In India the evangelists we train always begin by forming a prayer team or network, saturating the target area with prayer. But then they also reach out in acts of caring.”
We have been asked to make a list of families to pray for. How is your list coming? Now we are being asked to go a step further for those on our list. We are to ask the Holy Spirit for insight of how to go beyond simply praying; but, to express our care for them with acts of love and kindness.
Oh Boy! I can’t wait to share with you what God has been up to with one of the families on my list! A few weeks ago, the School Counselor from one of the local high schools contacted Point of Grace to share about a family in great need. The Pastor took our staff to visit with the family two weeks ago. After that visit, I could not get them out of my mind and heart. Their needs were overwhelming to me – and were too great to be “solved” by just a few people at PoG.
The very next morning‘s Devotion was Day 5 - “Prayer is Being the Friend in the Middle” on page 43 of Why Pray? It was such beautiful timing from God. Yes – the needs of that family were indeed overwhelming! Our family did not personally have financial resources to help in any significant way. But, the devotion that day talked about the man in the Bible who relentlessly knocked on his friend’s door in the middle of the night asking him for a loaf of bread to feed to his unexpected visitor. Please go back and read the story for yourself.
This is too hard. How can we help? The situation was too big! “God, what are you saying?” I believe He was teaching me that I could be “A friend in the Middle.” I think He was saying, “Get up! Go knock on your friend’s doors and ask them to help! And if they don’t answer – keep knocking!”
I began telling my family and friends about this family and immediately they yearned to help. Not only did they want to help – but they began telling their relatives and their friends about this family in need – and now they want to help, too!
We prayed to God for ideas of how to help. We took the mom out for coffee – to just be her friend and ask her for ways we could make a difference. We listened. We laughed. And a wonderful relationship is blossoming.
Fast forward to today’s entry – “Random Acts of Kindness” –it is full of encouragement from the author to go beyond simply praying to actively caring. This is the part that I am so excited to share with you! I have been the “Friend in the Middle” so far in this story. But my friends ------ they have been very busy going beyond prayer to ACTs of kindness.
The family was given 4 movie tickets as a birthday gift for one of the children. But this is a family of 7. Who would get to go and who would be left at home? My friend’s mother heard the story and gave the family 3 more tickets so that they can go see the movie together as a family!
One woman is asking her friends for donations to give this family summer passes to the local swimming pool so that they can get some relief from the summer heat.
One of the biggest strains on the family is gas money to get to work. My friend told her husband the story and he has been beside himself with how to help them out in a significant way. The other night he walked in the room and declared that the hairs were standing up on his neck – that God was giving him an answer – to sell a gold necklace that they had been hanging onto for years– and to use the money for Gasoline Gift Cards for the family! He took the necklace to 4 or 5 buyers trying to find the best price. They tried one more jeweler to see if they could get a better deal. The buyer gave them a lower bid. “The other Buyers offered us more.” He hesitated. And then he reluctantly said he would match it. “Wait until I tell you what the money is going to be used for!” She told him the story. Guess what? He not only matched the other dealer’s offers – but gave her $30 more!
I am so very proud of my friends. They heard the story. They prayed for God’s light to shine upon this family. They prayed for God to help them help this family. And they put action to their prayers. And this is all happening on the very same day as this Entry in the Why Pray Book of Random Acts of Kindness. Coincidence? No Way. It is all God. And I believe it is all in His perfect timing as He patiently teaches us a deeper understanding of prayer throughout this journey we are on together.
The Scripture Reading for today is Matthew 18:18-20. “I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. 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.” I totally did not understand what this meant or how it tied in to today’s entry.
The Message version says, “Take this most seriously: A yes on earth is yes in heaven; a no on earth is no in heaven. What you say to one another is eternal. I mean this. When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, My Father in heaven goes into action. And when two or three of you are together because of Me, you can be sure that I’ll be there.” “What are You saying to me, God?”
Why is this Scripture coupled with this Devotion? A long time passed. I read it over and over. The story I wanted to share with you was indeed very exciting about people coming together and praying for a family in need – and then acting upon it. But I think there is more that God is trying to teach me tonight. As I look at that Scripture again I see that it says, “when His people come together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, My Father in heaven goes into action.” The really exciting part of this story then – is NOT what my friends did – but how our Father in heaven went into action for that family! I believe it was our Father in heaven that persuaded the jeweler to give more than all the other bids – don’t you?
“Is that what You are trying to show me tonight, Father? That when we get together on anything at all on earth – like a family or neighborhood in need – we can be sure that You will be there? The miracle is not in how we come together to help others – but how YOU spring into action – and provide more than we dared to hope for or even imagine?"
How about you?
How have you been on the receiving end of people not just praying for you – but caring for you?
What random acts of kindness have you been a part of?
How have you witnessed the Father leaping into action?