Winnie knocked on my door the other night, and when I opened the door she
breathlessly asked “I’m sorry to bother you sir, but is there any chance I
could come in here while the police are talking to my boyfriend.”
Wow! I was nonplussed to say the least. My first inclination was to say yes and let her in. My second was to worry about involving my
family with a person whose boyfriend was being questioned by the police. I didn’t give worry any opportunity to
besiege me. I let her in immediately and
offered her a chair.
Hebrews 13:2 “Forget not to show love* unto strangers: for
thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”
* The NIV says “to entertain”
She sat down and told me what was going on: She had come home from walking over to the nearby Wendy’s for some dinner to find the police in her apartment and her boyfriend with his hand in the air.
“I slipped out before they could see me. Why are the police talking to my boyfriend?”
“Are you OK?” I asked.
“I’ll be OK; I just—Why are the police in my room?” she was mervously opening and shutting her cell phone.
“Would you like me to go up and find out what’s going on for you?” I asked, but she rather emphatically declined, saying that she just wanted to call her brother to pick her up. After she had made the call, I asked if I could pray for her. She was amenable, so I began to pray.
I prayed for everything I could think of. For peace and comfort for Winnie, for wisdom for the cops and for her boyfriend and his friend, for speed and safety for her brother. And then I continued as follows:
“Lord, we know you love us, that you love Winnie, and that your desire for us is for our good. Thank you that with all of creation at your fingertips you love us so much that you want to have a personal relationship with each one of us, that you care about the details of our lives, that you know Winnie’s situation right now. Lord we know we don’t deserve your love and relationship, that you are a perfect and just God and we have all done things that break your law and deserve to be punished. Lord thank you that even though the punishment for breaking your law is death, that you desired a relationship with us so much that you sent your son Jesus Christ who was perfect and had never broken your law so that he could willingly take our punishment so that we wouldn’t have to pay the price for all the bad things that we have done. Thank you that if we believe that you are who you say you are in your word and if we choose to make you Lord of our lives and if we accept the gift that Jesus made when he died on the cross to take the punishment for our sins that you offer us eternal life with you. Thank you so much for your mercy, even when we don’t deserve it.”
It may come out a bit contrived here on the page, but when I was praying it was heartfelt, from the spirit, and though I was aware of the fact that it was a witness, I wasn’t praying <i>to</i> witness. I was praying from my heart to my God. Nevertheless I realize that it was a witness and I believe that Winnie recognized that I was not pushing at her, but simply praying, interceding for her.
When I finished praying, my wife came in and asked if she could get Winnie something to drink. She had already been in our apartment for almost an hour. My wife made her some tea, and she made a few more phone calls before her brother arrived to take her away. I gave her my card at some point during all of that, but I found it on the floor of our apartment after she left, so I will probably know how the Spirit used my prayer in her life, and that’s OK, because it’s not about me, it’s about Him.
I will also just mention that I was so blessed by my wife after Winnie was gone, I really was worried about how my wife would feel about my having just invited her in like that, considering her situation and our family with three young children. My wife turned to me after she left and said “I feel like maybe I wasn’t hospitable enough to her. I didn’t even offer her something to drink until she had been here for a whole hour” (like she had had the opportunity!) I assured her that she had been more than hospitable enough, and my spirit soared to know that I had a wife whose spirit was in harmony with my spirit and the Spirit of God. What a blessed encounter!