So the rancher is home!! Yay!! He has learned that God is faithful and an ever present help in times of trouble. Psalm 46:1 says, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” He goes into the barn and notices a light on in the back stall. As he approaches the stall he can hear someone talking and then he realizes it is someone praying!! He recognizes the voice of his loving wife and she is calling out to God for his safe return home. He makes very sure he doesn’t disturb her as she lifts up prayers for him to the heavenly Father. She says, “God I don’t know why you have led me to pray for David, but I know I must pray now. Please bring him safely home to me and protect him as he repairs fences.” His wife looks up and sees him and comes and embraces him like she had not seen him in years. The rancher says, “What compelled you to pray for me? You couldn’t have seen what was going on out on the trail.” She says, “I just had an overwhelming thought that I needed to pray you home. It was God and He wouldn’t let me go without praying for you.” “Well, you prayed me home. So here I am and I am different than when I left.” How so, she asks? The rancher goes on to explain all of the pitfalls and troubles he incurred and how God walked with him all the way through it. His wife begins to weep, knowing that God has intervened in an extraordinary way in their daily life and has drawn them near to Him through the adversity of the rancher’s walk. God has brought him home.
1. The rancher got home and thought the lessons for the day were over, just to find that the icing was being put on the spiritual cake for not only him, but his wife. In Jeremiah 33:3 scripture says, “Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things which you do not know.” We make comments like “God will show us how to live” and “God is my direction”, not knowing just how much God wants to be involved in every aspect of our life. God really is a present God who is very involved in the daily struggles and successes in our life. He really is omnipresent and omniscient. His involvement is also very intimate in nature as he cares for what we think are the big things and small things. To Him they are just things. But He responds to our needs and our cries as only a loving Father can, and in the midst of that response we sense His closeness. One of my grandsons was playing in the yard and I was watching him. A very big dog came close by and it scared my grandson and He turned and looked at me and took off, running into my arms. I held him tight and he settled right down as the dog continued on down the street away from us. My grandson looked into my eyes and said, “I scared” as only a three year old can. It brings to mind the many times life has put fear into me and I have turned to my heavenly Father and said, “I am scared.” And then to feel his embrace on my life and my relaxing into his strong, loving arms of protection. Oh what a loving Father He is. Out on the trail God could have shown up without a word and given me strength and cleared my mind of fear and I would have gone on and finished the walk along the fence line, but what I would have missed would have been life changing. I would have missed the conversation, the hug, the comfort of a loving, heavenly Father. That would have been tragic. We need to learn to call on God in all circumstances and learn to receive His strength and hear His voice. God is responding to us and He is developing this relationship and developing our faith to teach us to learn to trust Him in all things. He is showing us how to grow up in our faith. The rancher learned how to grow up on the trail and his life was never the same.
2. Part of that lesson was the rancher realizing the importance, as never before, of prayer. Not only him crying out to God on the trail, but God working in other people and other ways. One way God grows us up is in our communication with Him. He gives us the Holy Spirit to teach us to pray and the open lines of that communication are very open!! Yes, we many times we forget to pray to God first in all circumstances and try to live life on our own. A point of growth for the rancher was “God is watching and listening.” A point of growth for us perhaps might be God is ready to hear and answer our prayers if we will just call out. A scripture I shared in a past blog is 1 Thessalonians 5:17 “pray without ceasing.” I have stated, to my ignorance, in the past that we can’t go around praying all the time and live our lives. We would bump into things with our eyes closed and run off the road in a car, if we can find the car with our eyes closed. I have very wrongly said that scripture means we are to have an attitude of prayer. With my ignorance cleared up I will tell you I believe this verse revolutionizes our position in prayer and our purpose in prayer. The position in prayer means we don’t have to necessarily close our eyes when praying. We can walk and move around with our eyes open and it doesn’t inhibit our prayer time. In fact, we can see more how to pray with our eyes open and it gives us a vantage point of seeing our world as we are talking to God and listening to His response. In 1 Corinthians 13:12 “seeing” was a big part of this truth in the verse that says, “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.” A person who prays without ceasing is fully aware of God’s presence with their eyes opened or closed and they can choose paths to take with their eyes open in prayer. They can make decisions on the fly with their eyes open by seeing the world around them, and if their communication is that intense with the Heavenly Father, then they will know how to react to certain things. My family was shopping at an outdoor mall and my daughter saw a young lady who had passed out on a bench. She immediately went over to the bench and prayed for the young lady until help arrived. She saw with prayer eyes wide open and responded with action. God really is listening 24:7 and He really wants us to live a life of prayer so He can give us instruction on how to live our lives. We fail when we don’t pray 24:7, cause He is always watching, and on call to help. We only see partially, but in time we will see more fully the ways of God by spending time with him. The rancher’s time with God wasn’t over when he got home. It was just beginning and that time was moving into every area of his life.
3. Last, but not least. The praying wife in the stall at the back of the barn was a big part of this whole process. God had spoken to her, just like he had spoken to the rancher when his strength was gone and he was up against it. Intercessory prayer is one of God’s ways to teach us to look at others like God does. It is God’s way of letting us in on the process by burdening our hearts to pray for others. The ranchers wife didn’t know all that was going on out on the trail. No details. But she knew she needed to pray. My wife is that wife. God speaks to her many times to just stop and pray for certain people and certain things. It is an incredible thing to be included in the processes of God and she doesn’t take it lightly. Some others may also have this option given to them, but they discount it as “just a thought.” A point of maturity will be found by a Christian when they learn that God is including them and their prayers in the processes of life by giving them burdens to pray for something with very little details. The rancher’s praying wife was a huge part of the process and God allowed her to get involved by getting on her knees in a stinky horse stall. In the story I didn’t mention that she had been on her knees praying for 8 hours. She got off her knees when she knew he was home. Her prayers answered. She could rejoice just like the psalmist in Psalm 66:19 “But certainly God has heard; He has given heed to the voice of my prayer.” The book of Psalms is our guidebook for how God works through prayer and should be read every day. We learn from others who called out to God in Psalms and echo their cries ourselves and echo their rejoicing when God answers our prayers. The prayer life of a believer walking with God is very active and current, much like our Lord. Your prayer closet may be your car, your bathroom, your hallway at church, or even the altar in the worship center. You never know when God is going to burden your heart about something or someone. It is time to get on our knees or walk around or drive down the highway and pray without ceasing.
I hope this parable and the explanation has been helpful to bring into focus some areas of your life that you are encouraged to grow in. The Christian life truly is a pilgrimage and if we are living and breathing we are part of that journey. Let’s walk it together.
The Pilgrimage continues…