Whenever my wife and I pray together, we always have one absolute which we include in every communication with the Lord: We’re willing vessels, Lord. Use us to impact others in a positive way.
Allow me to share my most recent testimony of God answering prayer.
My wife and I have been attending Emmanuel Christian Center, an awesome church in Fridley, MN, for about four years now. Recently, we have been encouraged to participate in a program simply entitled “Five Friends.” The objective of this concept is to write down on a card five people whom you would pray for on a daily basis.
One of the “friends” I wrote down was a former co-worker by the name of Emily (not her real name). She started at the company where I work around August 2004. Within a couple of months we started chatting on a somewhat regular basis after she learned I was a fellow George W. Bush supporter. Since the ’04 Presidential campaign was in its stretch run at that time, we both observed the events with a keen interest. After the election had come and gone, Emily and I merely exchanged a polite “hello” whenever we crossed paths. She was an incredibly sweet person but wasn’t someone for whom I went out of my way to get to know on a personal level.
In January 2005, our company scheduled its annual Holiday party on a weekend my wife and I were out of town. Upon returning to work the following Monday, I inquired about what I may have missed at the big soiree. The one incident that seemed to stand out in everyone’s mind was how Emily acted throughout the evening. From what I gathered, Emily was obnoxious and somewhat belligerent due to her being inebriated. I dismissed it as someone who got carried away at the party by visiting the bar a little too often. As I would eventually learn, she was intoxicated before the party even started.
About a week-and-a-half later, it was a work day and I happened to be in the cafeteria taking about a ten minute break. I saw Emily peak through the window before she entered the break area. I was by myself so it seemed pretty obvious she wanted to speak with me. I figured it would be work related. However, her first inquiry kind of took me off guard. She asked me about my faith in the Lord and about the church my wife and I attend. While I don’t recall the exact words exchanged during the conversation, she told me it was nice to be able to talk and thanked me for my time. Upon returning to my desk, I sent her an e-mail with an internet link to our church. I told her that my wife and I would love to host her if indeed she was interested in visiting ECC. She didn’t respond to that inquiry that day. It was the next day when I figured I would stop by her desk to invite her personally.
She wasn’t there.
When I asked if she was out for the day, I was told she was on a four-week leave of absence. I was stunned. I had a vague suspicion that she checked in to some sort of alcohol treatment facility. Some of the co-workers who had become good friends with Emily confirmed the inkling I had. Immediately, I was reminded of the conversation we had in the break room. She was attempting to reconcile her life with Jesus. She was obviously at a crossroads in her life, about to face the demons that had been haunting her for some time. Perhaps she wanted me to reassure her that God indeed never leaves us nor forsakes us.
Nevertheless, after a month in the rehab facility, Emily returned to work looking as vibrant as ever, ready to start over.
That seemed to last all of about three months.
Since Emily worked in a heavily populated area of our office it wasn’t unusual for me to pass by her cubicle on a regular basis. One day in early June I walked by her cube only to notice that her name plate had been removed and her personal possessions were gone from her desk. I asked one of Emily’s associates in her department if she was gone for good. I received a regretful nod of “yes”. While I didn’t receive specific details of the fateful incident which lead to her firing, I pretty well knew it was due to drinking on the job.
Fast forward about seven months. Once again, the company holiday party was to take place and this time my wife and I would be attending. As this years’ gathering drew near I couldn’t help but think of Emily and the chaos that took place at the previous years’ get-together. So within the last few weeks, it came on my heart to write her and let her know that we would very much like to have her visit our church. I also wanted her to realize that I knew of her difficulties with alcohol and, since she was one of my “Five Friends”, I hoped and prayed that she is on firm footing. I decided to write a letter via “snail mail” since I only had access to her home address. I sent this letter last Thursday.
You can imagine my surprise when I checked our mail Tuesday evening to find a letter from Emily! What could she possibly have to say? Was she encouraged by my letter or outraged? Was she appreciative or angry? There was only one way to find out.
I was uncharacteristically nervous when opening the letter. When I removed the paper from the envelope, I immediately scanned to the very last sentence written. I figured that would give an indication of the tone of the note. “Please pray for me” were the final words uttered in the letter. It was only then my trepidation turned to joy. As it turns out, Emily received the letter on Saturday and was very appreciative. Two days later she would be checking into Minnesota Teen Challenge, a faith-based drug and alcohol rehabilitation program. Had my letter not arrived Saturday, it would not have gotten to her home until Monday. By then, she would have been at the treatment facility where she will spend at least the next 60 days, possibly a year.
There is absolutely no doubt it was my prayers for Emily which caused God to move me to write her. Had I hesitated just one day, she would not have received my correspondence before she left for treatment.
An excerpt from the letter Emily wrote:
Satan really is trying to get me but I don’t want to die like that. I want the relationship back with God that I used to have. I am so happy I got your letter before I left.
Thank you so much for the letter. It lets me know there are good Christian people that truly do care.
Please pray for me.
You know we will, Emily.
God truly answers prayer!