Angel

I’ve been in ministry in one form or another for over 12 years now. In that time I’ve met some amazing people. One of the most precious gifts that anyone can do for you is a commitment to prayer. I know that I pray for people and I also know that I need prayer. I need people to pray for me. The Bible is full of this encouragement. Paul states in Philippians 1 this: 3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in amy every prayer for you all, in view of your 1aparticipation in the bgospel cfrom the first day until now.

Paul on several occasions announces to his readers that he has been praying for them. Jesus also talks of praying for Peter. Peter gets prayed out of jail in the book of Acts. There is just something that in God’s economy that make prayer special. No matter your theological bent no Christian can argue that prayer is of little value.

That brings me to Angel. Last year I spoke at a church in Cherryville NC for a Sportsman’s banquet. It’s a great way to reach big tough outdoorsy folks. I shared briefly about how the Lord Jesus had rocked my world some 13 years ago. I’m never sure how my testimony will go over in churches because I came from a pretty unchurchy lifestyle for most of my life.

I finished speaking and sat down at a the nearest table, self critiquing every misspoken word when I felt a had on my shoulder. It was an older lady, probably around 70. She began to thank God for me! I don’t like it at all when people thank God for me. Its embarrassing and I rarely feel worthy of being thought of as a blessing. But she kept on, but not in a religious way, a very honest way.

I sensed that I could talk to her and we shared openly and honestly at that table for over an hour. I found out she was a nurse and everyone called her Angel. There’s a good reason for that. She could be one. She told me something remarkable. She said, “Chaplain, I’m going to pray for you every day till the day I go to be with Jesus.”

I’ve had people tell me they’d be praying for me. In the church it’s sort of our way of saying “So long, I’ll be praying for you.” But I always wonder if anybody means it. I wonder if I mean it when I say it. But she wasn’t kidding. She asked for my address so she could send me a letter from time to time. From time to time turned out to be a faithful commitment of encouragement. I got my first letter from her about a week later. It was a simple note card with scripture hand written on it. It was from Jeremiah 29. It had in the bottom right corner the date and the time she was praying for me. I was blessed by it. Well they kept coming. Some weeks she’d send two, some four and some weeks I’d get books in the mail, devotional books with my name engraved on them. Every week for the last 20 months that Angel has remembered to pray for me and remembered to let me know. Now I know why Paul wrote that he had been praying for people. Because it is an unbelievable encouragement to know that someone is talking to God for you. Especially when you are so busy that you barely have time to sleep.

So I’m giving thanks today for Angel whose example of faithfulness has encouraged me, lifted me and strengthened me through difficult times. I give thanks to God for allowing me to know her. She’ll never be famous or rich or on TV. She’ll probably just keep riding her bicycle and telling people about Jesus in Cherryville NC, till one day she’ll go home. All the fan fair of this world will never compare to the reception she’ll get as she walks through a crowd of cheering witnesses. She’ll see everyone there and she’ll see Jesus. He’ll say, “Well done Angel, welcome home and now we can get the party started!”



a Rom 1:9

1 Or sharing in the preaching of the gospel

a Acts 2:42; Phil 4:15

b Phil 1:7; 2:22; 4:3, 15

c Acts 16:12–40; Phil 2:12; 4:15

Comments

Brad, Thanks for your testimony about angel. What a blessing people like her are. I went to Vangard Chapel yesterday. I almost expected to see you there, but I knew you were gone. I am praying for you as well as the Lord leads you in new direction.

Mark
Anonymous said…
From Brad's MOM
"Angels and Archangels and All the Company of Heaven"


Brad I read your piece about an angel. Thanks for expressing how much it means to you to KNOW that somebody prays for you. I am so happy you have that angel.

Now that you are a teacher and preacher, I am taking the stance of learner. You have helped me learn something today about myself. I am such a silent “pray-er, ‘ dependent on the Book of Common Prayer. I don’t know how I got to be so reticent and ceremonius, but I am. I do pray and pray and I’m sure God hears, but YOU don’t even know I pray for you every day because I don’t tell you. Hearing you speak of your brokenness in the past reminds me that I may have failed to give you a model for praying. ( Or, maybe my way sent you an opposite way.)

If you will allow me I’d like let you know something about my prayer life. Here is some of what you may not know about me:

When I was little, my habit was to pray for everyone before sleep, usually kneeling by the bed. I repeated my words like a “list.” I could say it fast, always in the same order: “Dear God, Thank you for Mommy and Daddy and Becky and Mama and Papa Doggett and Mama and Papa Gaston. Help me to be a good girl. Amen.” My next best place to pray was on my bicycle: “Dear God, It’s me Sarah...keep me safe on my bicycle today. Don’t let me get run over please. Amen.”

Fast Forward to adulthood: At a conference on spirituality at Kanuga I was in an outdoor Pentecost service with great “spirit music.” “Wind, Wind blow on me. Wind, Wind set me free...Wind, Wind fill me with the blessed Holy Spirit.” I could see the wind in the pine trees and feel fresh mountain air on my face. At that time I was feeling the brokenness of our failed marriage. I invented for myself that week a practice of breathing as I prayed for my own healing and that of others. As I prayed for the people I loved, I began with a deep breath and then created a mental picture of each face. The physical act helped me center my prayers. I have continued this discipline in the years since. I like to think of my breath as a metaphor for that holy and powerful wind which was gently moving the pines that evening and which right now I see out the window in the oak trees in my backyard.

Now 12 years later in my elderhood, I take my waking slow in morning prayer. I surround myself each morning with the “company of angels” who are a part of my life. Breathe in. Breathe out. Bless Brad (Brad on a big wheel, Brad in a football jersey. Brad on the motorcycle. Brad preaching. Brad being a daddy.) Breathe in. Breathe out. Bless Stevie..( Stevie in toughskins, Stevie with a basketball, Stevie carrying Winchester, Stevie on a bike, Steve is a graduation gown, Stevie on an airplane going to an interview, Stevie at home with Cindy and Ginger) And on to Tammy, and Cindy and Jack and Tori. And always at the end: “Thank you for Mama GG and Grandaddy.” And in my car: “ Dear God, it’s me, Sarah. Keep me safe in this car especially today since Tori and Jack are with me.”

Brad, I ask your forgiveness for what I failed to teach you. And I say thanks to you for being a teacher to your mom through your blog. Today I learn from you not only to be reminded to continue my prayer discipline, but to tell you (or write you) so you know that you and Steve are first in line in the company of angels I picture. Believe it or not, you dad Jack is in that company too. Jack building models, Jack telling a joke and laughing too much to say the punch line, Jack on the golf course. Jack shagging. Jack reading a book in the bookstore.

As Tiny Tim prayed, “ God, bless us every one!”

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