Today I prayed for women who came into a free healthcare clinic connected with my local church. I am now part of an intercession team that offers prayer to women who desire that before or after their doctor's appointment. Some come back solely for the prayer.
And I suck at it.
I used to know how to do this--I have been on countless prayer teams, formed a college prayer group centered on dessert (if there's ice cream, they will come), gone through a prayer internship, and been a full time intercessor for years. You would think I could pray for people.
And I can. I do. Prayer happens. Worship happens. God is glorified. But secretly I think it's all a joke--me, who can barely get out of bed, offering people prayer!
But I hobble to and fro in absolute exhaustion, worship, feebly ask women if they would like prayer, and am shocked if they say yes.
And I am jarred out of my selfish grief world. And thank God that I have a car and not an abusive ex-husband. And I continue to pray for them. And start to ache for them, but then my heart saltily reminds me that I'm in way too much pain as it is, and to shut the hell up about these other people (my heart often has a potty mouth). And I'm disgusted by my myopic self-centeredness in a helpless sort of way.
I've never been this weak before.
Today I arrived just as a mother, grandmother and little girl were being prayed for. Afterward, as they waited for a prescription, the three-year old girl spied a stash of children's books and greedily grabbed an armful. Girl after my own heart.
She looked around, and caught my eye. I smiled and offered to read them to her. We read through a couple, and I became increasingly concerned by her lack of engagement. I always try to involve kids as I read to them, and she would not point out where the crab was, turn the page, or really do anything. She didn't say a word. I know it doesn't seem like much, but I knew something was wrong. From her eyes and a half dozen other things. She was not in a good situation, and I could do absolutely nothing except pray for her.
I cannot relay how horrible it is to see children shut down and lifeless, and know that abuse is happening RIGHT NOW but that it will probably be years before it stops, and more excruciating years before God addresses it and they slog through the awful miry bog toward healing. If at all. I told another lady, and we prayed, and I'll keep praying. Who knows what is going on. Who knows what God will do because we prayed.
Oh but it grates on my soul. Kyrie eleison. Christe eleison.
Jesus, you have such a brave heart to refuse to give up on this place where we live.
Jesus, rescue the little girl with the old eyes. Do your thing. I love it when you do (actually, that's a complete lie. I love it afterwards).
Gentle knead her soul into breathing.