The power of anonymous prayer

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.  2 Corinthians 1:3-4

I work part-time at a Christian high school.  I watch all the students with spirit eyes, loving each one of them as their sister in Christ.  I hold a special place in my heart for the teens on the social fringes, the teens from divorced families, and the teens who don’t pretend to have it all together.  They remind me of myself at my most painful stage.

One of these precious teens is particularly awkward in social graces.  Several faculty members and I have been keeping an eye on this teen at lunchtime, who sits alone or with just one other classmate.  We waver between giving this teen time to make friends and nudging peers to reach out.  It’s difficult to differentiate between overprotection and healthy intervention.

Yesterday I had to page this teen to the office to pick something up.  I glimpsed the teen’s painful shyness mingled with inner beauty in the bumbling word of thanks I received.  For the rest of the day, I could not get this teen out of my thoughts.  I remembered how alone I felt every day at that age, and I wanted to help without being intrusive.  Suddenly I realized I could pray.  I prayed over and over last night, asking God to help, to guide, to provide friendship, to bless this teen.

Today at lunch this teen stood out as the only one in the room sitting alone.  As I walked by, I prayed silently.  Minutes later, the teen got up and found a vacant spot at a table full of peers.  I don’t know if the teen was invited by a peer when I wasn’t watching—I don’t know if the teen received the Lord’s prompting.  But I know my prayer was answered.  I thank God for hearing and answering anonymous prayer!

God is redeeming my lonely teen years through this secret prayer ministry.  God’s sovereignty amazes me—he powerfully uses the comfort He gave me in my old troubles to secretly comfort others troubled today.  He is the God who comforts—all praise be to his name!

How have you seen your anonymous prayers answered? How do you use the comfort you received from God to comfort others?

My thought-life battle, Part 2

Self-talk

After small-group Bible study
I can’t turn off the mental playback
and endless analysis
of every word I shared.
You went too far
you shouldn’t have said anything
you stupid girl.

“Stupid is a bad word, Mama,”
my little boy chastises from his car seat.
Oh–the inner voice crossed my lips
and now I hear its harshness.
“You’re right, bubba,” I say–
“Silly is better. Mama’s so silly.”
He promptly forgets
but as he naps
I ponder the frequency
and alarming volume
of that condemning voice.
Suddenly I hear myself
whisper leave me alone, leave me alone.
Is this spoken plea
a directive: “Get behind me, Satan!”
or a desperate separation
like the Counting Crows song:
“try to keep myself away from myself and me”?
Who is my worst enemy–the harsh inner judge
or The Great Accuser?
I turn to the scripture we studied
and Romans 8:1 shouts:
“There is now no condemnation
for those who are in Christ Jesus.”
God no longer condemns
my sins long reconciled
my embarrassments long elapsed
my griefs long buried.
When the dark voice snarls
Do you know who you are?
habitually I chant bad, stupid, worthless.
Now I ask God his opinion
and his words of life resound:
Redeemed
Forgiven
Beautiful
Treasured
Precious
Priceless
Daughter.

Overwhelmed with new joy
I get down on my knees
asking him to transform me
by the renewing of my mind.