I was scrounging for something to buy for dinner at the grocery store after work the other day when something odd caught my eye.
A couple walked past me.
What I saw would have been easy to miss.
The woman was trying hard to control her facial expression, but the tears standing in her eyes betrayed her distress.
She was trying not to make a scene, and the tight grip he had above her elbow said she'd better not.
He stared straight ahead, walking with determined steps, subtly dragging her along as she fearfully resisted with a half step behind his. You could tell he had gotten in her head and had ruthless control of her.
I've seen this sort of thing before, and it distressed me, but what could I do?
If I'd intervened, he would have told me to mind my own business, and he seemed to have enough control over her she would have insisted nothing was wrong. What was her home life like with this man? How long has this sort of thing been happening? What stories could their children tell if they could without fear? As I drove home, my heart went out to that woman and I felt helpless.
But wait! I was not helpless. There WAS something I could do--something powerful!
James 5:16 says," The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much. " In other words, prayer could transform that situation. Prayer could bring salvation to both of them. Prayer could give her courage to make decisions to protect herself. Prayer could give him God's perspective on her value as a woman. Prayer could purge all the unhealthiness which made that painful scene at the grocery store visible.
So often we see hurting people and think we don't have the funds, or the authority, or even permission from the one we desire to help. A mentor told me years ago that oftentimes God makes us aware of needs not so we can rescue, call the police, give money, or whatever else. Sometimes our assignment is simply to pray. Don't underestimate the power of a pointed and passionate prayer. God says it yields great results. If He has offered this awesome tool as an instrument to help others, we dare not underestimate it.
I am counting on the God who directed me to pray to do just what He said. I am trusting Him to hear the fervent prayer I prayed on my drive home that day. It was the only and yet most powerful thing I could do.
What about you? When have you felt helpless to do anything but found prayer to be the best thing?