A friend of ours who was once a high state office-holder in the South, then moved to the federal government, told us a personal story. Growing up, his room was upstairs in their home, but he often awoke to the sound of conversation on the floor level below. He would creep down the stairs to find his father, kneeling on one knee beside the bed. The boy would frequently crouch under his father’s raised knee and listen, as his father prayed – for him.
Blessed heritage. It’s difficult to think of a greater gift a father could give his son. Or a mother to her children…or her grands, than that. I believe it would not be uncommon, as that youngster faced enormous temptations in the days ahead, if that picture of a mom or dad, arms upraised in petition to the throne, flashed through his mind and provided a burst of spiritual courage.
The battle is real, you know. We have a friend who likes to say, “Until you know you’re in a war, you really don’t know what prayer is for.” You likely remember the story recorded in Exodus 17 when the Amalekites attacked Israel. God instructed Moses to hold his staff in the air and the Israeli army would win. But as the day wore on, Moses’ arms understandably grew tired. Aaron and Hur, his trusted counselors, found a rock for him to sit on, held up his arms when he no longer could, and the Israelites won the battle.
Whose arms are you holding up? Your kids’? Your spouse’s? Your pastor’s? The man who wandered into church last week looking like he was tired from the battle? The lady you know whose husband just received the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease? The young mom whose husband, a first-responder, was shot earlier this week by an irresponsible hoodlum? And the hoodlum?
You remember the night in the Garden, just before He would be put to death, how Jesus went to where the disciples were, He hoped, interceding for Him. But they were asleep. What courage it would have given Him had He been able to go to the cross knowing that His friends were holding Him up in intercession.
I heard a precious story of a lady who is married to one of the most influential men in America. Her assignment is not an easy one, yet she stays strong. When asked about it, she replied that often when she was young she would go to visit her grandma in Georgia. Morning after morning the little girl would rise and go into the kitchen from where she could see her grandma in the back yard, kneeling by a small fruit tree, praying for her children…and grand-children. It’s her story that her grandma’s prayers played a major role in filling her with the spiritual resources she would need. That was another hold-up.
By Don Jacobsen