“See this pipe?” the tall workman asked me as I looked over his shoulder at my toilet. “We have mighty hard water in these parts,” he explained in his soft Southern drawl. “Eventually it builds up in these thin pipes, making it harder and slower for the water to get through.”
I nodded, then thanked him and let him get back to replacing the offensive tube while I settled thoughtfully at my computer.
Right before he arrived, I’d been praying for wisdom about how to pray for a dear friend whose walk with God has been faltering. As I went back to praying about him, and thinking over the reasons why he was struggling, I realized how similar his situation was to my clogged pipes. Only, in his case, it wasn’t hard water – it was a hard heart.
He had been praying about several large prayer requests over the last few months that God seemed to be saying “No” to. Or perhaps the answer was, “Wait – for a very long time.” Rather than choosing to “rejoice always” he had gotten mad. Mad at his broken knee. Mad at his being on bedrest for a prolonged period of time. Mad at himself for his carelessness. And mad at God for allowing all of this.
He pointed out to me, several times, the many examples of the psalmists, railing at God for their problems. He ignored the many other examples of how often they finished those lamenting psalms with a definite trust in God.
His Bible hadn’t been touched in weeks. And church? He went in body but “checked out” mentally as soon as he sat down.
I wasn’t worried about where he would spend eternity. I knew him well enough to know he did love God, and had truly meant it when he made his profession of faith over 30 years ago. But I also knew how stubborn he could be, how miserable he was making himself and I hurt for him over that – much more than over the broken knee, knowing that could heal up much easier.
Now, thanks to my toilet, I realized there were several encouraging Bible verses I could use as simple Scripture prayers for him.
“Lord, please bless George. Please touch his heart, and soften it and remove the hardness that is there. Please remind him that, while we don’t always understand what’s going on, we can always be confident of your powerful love for us. Please enable him to choose to ‘rejoice always, pray without ceasing and in everything give thanks.” Please remind him and reinforce for him Your sweet promises in the Bible including Romans 8:28 – that all things, even these struggles, do work for his good.”
Shifting a bit, I paused, then continued, “Father God, please scour his spiritual pipes clean between the two of you! Please help him to start talking to You AND listening to You through Your Word, sermons, and praise and worship music.”
Father, please give him a tender hug, just from You. And thank You Lord for leading me to pray for him, and for Your promise that You will complete that which You have started! “
“Dear Father, right now I choose to surrender him into Your hands and follow my own prayer advice by praising You – no matter what! In Jesus’ precious name I pray, Amen.”
As I finished my Scripture praying, I could feel my heart lighten. To paraphrase a favorite quote of mine, I don’t know what the future holds for George, but I know Who holds him and Who holds his future, and even Who holds his hard heart - for an eternity!
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