Prayer in the Parking Lot
Prayer can happen anytime, anywhere. And it is just as powerful in a parking lot as in a pew.
The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth (accomplishes) much. – James 5:16b
Prayer is also not hung up on the looks or status of who’s doing the praying – all God cares about is the heart (1 Samuel 16:6-7). I work at a library, and recently a woman walked in that to my snap judgment looked like she was going to a club, not running errands around town (actually, what I thought was a little stronger than that). But I was wrong, and almost immediately put in my place.
The woman was returning overdue books, which she explained sorrowfully were late because her son had been in two hospitals, one of them over an hour away, because of grave problems with his heart. She looked at me, tears brimming, and said “do you know what it’s like to see your son just sitting there and his heart literally popping out of his chest,” using her hands to pantomime the action.
My heart broke for her. I said earlier that prayer can happen anytime, anywhere, but not officially at the front counter at the library while I’m working behind it. I know how God has set up the power of words (Proverbs 18:20-21, James 3:3-5), so many times I will just speak a blessing and words of encouragement and life over people while they’re at the counter and claim the name of Jesus in my mind. I also know that praying in the spirit to myself is very powerful and can change an atmosphere.
But in her case, I knew it just wasn’t enough. So while she was talking about her situation and all that the family was dealing with, I was asking God how do I do this? I’m not going to be able to lean over the counter and pray with her, or take her aside, but this lady needs to be comforted. She needs physical touch, and she needs the power of Your spirit right now.
Ding ding ding! Since the woman was able to renew many of her books and was checking out a few others, her bags were pretty loaded down. Often at the library, as a courtesy, we will help people carry their books to the car. Normally, it’s for elderly or disabled, but hey! This lady had her hands full, literally.
So after we got her bags situated and her kids in the car, I told her I believe prayer and the name of Jesus are powerful, and would love to just pray with you and over your son. She welcomed the idea, and told her kids. She went to the side of her car with her daughter, and I leaned in where her son was. I claimed God’s health and healing for him, and peace for her and the dad. I spoke blessing and protection over the family, all in the precious and rock-solid name of Jesus Christ. It was a powerful moment in the parking lot.
When we were finished, I asked her if she did hugs. She hugged me tightly and thanked me profusely, again with tears in her eyes.
I haven’t seen her in the library since, so I can’t give a status update. But for those reading this right now, lift with me that her son is continuing to strengthen his physical heart, that her heart is filled with peace and NO anxiety, and that the daughter knows how valuable she is to the family too. I speak grace and comfort over them, in the name of Jesus Christ. As David says in Psalms, that that kid will live and not die and declare the works of the Lord (Psalms 118:17).
I pray that over you too, reader. That your life will be infused with God’s glory, His strength, and His grace. That you will know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are loved – right now, right where you are, just for who you are. God doesn’t look at our past story, at our mistakes or at our failings. He looks in the precious face of His son Jesus and says that’s how I see you.
You are special to Him and to me – thanks for taking the time to travel a part of this journey with me.