Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
--From James’ Letter to the Twelve Tribes Scattered Among the Nations
After the Bible Study ended I had to leave, but I felt a burden to pray for Don.
“Hey Don, I gotta roll, but I need to pray for you.”
Don didn’t move, so I took that as acquiescence.
“Dear God,” I started. “Please reveal yourself to Don. I know that he is confused and that he is in need of a savior. Father, make it so clear to Don tonight that you love him. Help him to see that he is a sinner. Show him that you went to the cross for his sins and Lord, please send your Holy Spirit to him. Don’t let him sleep tonight without giving his life to you. In Jesus Name, Amen.”
Don looked at me blankly. I wondered if that two sentence prayer had any affect. I loved to pray those kinds of prayers over prisoners whenever I did jail ministry. Sometimes they would lie awake all night and just be desperate for God. I don’t know why I’m always surprised that God answers prayer, but it is kind of funny to think that God would answer my prayer for one guy to make him stay awake all night to ready him for salvation.
“Hey Don, I gotta go,” I said turning to leave.
“What, you’re just gonna leave? What the **** did you just do?”
“I’ll explain later. I got a kid to mentor and a Greek paper to knock out.”
“Who’s the kid?”
“His name is Kevin, and he is 17 and ironically struggles with homosexuality. I am trying to point him towards Jesus.”
“Struggle? Why would he struggle?”
“We’ll talk later on that, Don. Gotta jet.”
I walked out the door and headed for my Saturn. I put Don out of my mind for the moment and focused on spending time with a 17 year old that I mentored. I had mentored him when he was 12 and 13 while living in Georgia. His mother had moved to Dallas and now we were reunited at 17. His mom had made me his Godfather. I didn’t really know what that meant, but I guessed I was the one responsible for his growth in Christ.
I also had a Romans paper to knock out. Romans Five. Sin entered the world through one man and death came to all men through one man Adam. Judgment followed that one sin and condemnation came to all. It looked pretty bad for mankind, but then came grace through Jesus who provided righteousness and salvation to all. If I think about it too long, it could bring tears to my eyes. I really believe it. This is why I loved to spend time with Don. I wanted him to see salvation. I didn’t deserve the gift, but when I got it, I wanted nothing else.
I spent time with Kevin and then finished my paper real late. My alarm woke me and that desire to tell mom, “I need five more minutes,” came over me, only it had been 12 years since I could last do that. I made it to class, Wednesday morning, groggy with a need to keep my eyes open, so coffee in hand I connected to the internet and downloaded my email.
Tue 11/13/2007 11:28 PM
CHRIS, I don’t even know how to express what I feel towards you , Its revulsion , mixed with arghhh, You make a mockery of everything decent, You’re soooo arghhh! If I had my torture equipment I would take out all my anxiety over you on some poor soul. NOW, ABOUT THAT PRAYER THING YOU ATTEMPTED tonight. Did you pray for me, and if so, what was it? Do I have a right to know or am I being rude? This is new conversation for me, unchartered waters. McGregor and I went to dinner afterwards, like we do, and you were definitely a topic of conversation.
The pathetic thing was that Chris actually backed YOU over me!!! DAMN BOTH OF YOU! I DON’T KNOW WHEN I’VE ACTUALLY HAD SUCH AN EMOTIONAL EVENING! TONIGHT I WANTED TO CRY! Have you seen a grown man cry? It’s not pretty, that’s what all the issues did to me this evening. I explained my life to McGregor in terms I’ve never used. He already knew a lot of my life, but tonight I put things together spiritually and saw where and how I came to believe as I do. I don’t think there’s any way out. I’d like in all honesty to be like you—well, like you believe—I respect you.
Damn, you’re insane, you know? We have only known each other a few weeks and yet we have this incredible camaraderie, is that normal for you? Do you have several friends like me? How did the mentoring go this evening? I would be glad to be supportive of that kid—Even if it was just telling you my experiences to tell him. I’m exhausted and way too fragile to keep typing.
I sat and stared at the email trying to piece together Don’s fragmented mind. I wondered what had transpired last night that he would have had such an emotional evening. I guess he had paid attention to the prayer. He wasn’t a Christian yet, at least that is what it appeared to me. God was definitely doing something. Dr. Toussaint in one of our chapels told us that whenever a person is asking questions about God and faith that is the Holy Spirit working on them. Well it seemed the Holy Spirit was torturing Don. That was never my intent—well maybe it was—it was definitely cool to see him squirm under the power of the Gospel as I squirmed at his stories of being gay.
God give me wisdom here I prayed, trying to focus on the lecture.