When I drive my husband’s truck
I select the Jamey Johnson CD
against my better judgment
so unlike my regular Christian fare.
Yet I choose to slip inside his sorrow.
I’ve listened often enough
to hear the devil’s lies
in my favorite songs on this bitter album.
The lie that Jesus turned his back on him
in a Southern Baptist parking lot
where he routinely got high.
The lie that no one cares where he’s been
once the fame, money, and glory
played out.
The lie that no one understands
his lonesome song.
Perhaps this is his own doing and undoing.
Perhaps he hides his pain away
where no one can see.
Perhaps he bears consequences
like the prodigal son in a foreign pigpen.
I blast the song
until the dash trembles and my ears ring.
As the bass line climbs
I slip back into the darkness
when I believed
no one understood
no one cared
not even God.
Then I used sleep and food as my elixir
not unlike his whiskey, women, and cocaine.
He’s wrong—I understand and sing along
to the words to a song nobody wrote.
Can’t nobody sing along.

I’m drawn to his mournful wail
like a mother to her baby’s cries
wanting to comfort him
wanting to comfort my old self
with the truth:
You’re not alone!
But I only knew that truth
once I turned back to my Father.
When I step out of the truck
with the song resounding in my head
I whisper a prayer of thanks
for my deliverance
and prayers of comfort
for the lonely.


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?