Christian Living

Spiritual Life

I Would Have Prayed

I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one, I in them and you in me, so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” John 17:22-23 (TNIV)

I prayed too late. If I’d known sooner, maybe things would have been different. I stood gazing into the casket of my dearest friend. A sister. One I’d long to be in the company of, so when God blessed me with the opportunity to be her friend, I grasped hold and held tight.

That morning Mom had called me to ask if I’d heard from Lisa. I’d not heard from her in days, but we’d talked the week before.

“Lisa is dead,” Mom said. “Electrocuted in the tub.”

I hung up the phone. Don’t remember much after that. Somewhere between the four-hour trip and the reception line, I woke up to find myself staring into her casket, Lisa’s Bible clutched in her hands. Just like in life, she held Christ tight. Only now she was dead.

If I’d have known there was a problem between Lisa and her husband I’d have prayed for her safety. My heart broke as the loneliness swept over me. Christ had brought us together as friends and now we were divided by the shroud of death.

Lisa and I prayed together, talked about everything. And not once had she mentioned a fear of her husband or that he'd try to harm her. I’m not sure she knew the possibility. She’d ask how I was doing and yet, she kept silent about her own life.

I felt so helpless, torn. I could have prayed - would have, if I’d known. God might have saved her ... changed her circumstances. But I didn’t know.

But Jesus knew. I took comfort in the fact that, just as Jesus prayed for us then, He prays for us now. Long before my birth, He fell to His knees and pleaded that I would know the Father as He knew the Father. Christ prayed for me like no one else has ever prayed - He asked for me to be brought to Him and united in His love. He wanted me to have that peace and reassurance that He would die for. He prayed that same thing for Lisa.

It took years for me to learn the secret of prayer is not in the words but in the purity of our hearts. That it’s the sincerity of soul, a naive faith that believes we can know God and that God knows us. That He seeks us and desires our presence with Him. Christ pleaded to the Father that I would know the unity of His presence in my life and He prayed those words with that same purity of heart and a “Father’s faith,” believing that through my trials, I would respond.

What an amazing gift Christ wanted me to have—an indivisible unity with the Father. No one has ever wanted more for me.

"Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him." Isaiah 64:4 (NIV)

In death, Lisa clung to His word. Like Christ clung to the cross. Like I cling to the hope I’ll see my friend again and the hope that I can know the Father as Christ knows Him.

Won’t you seek the One who reaches out from the cross to you? Allow His love to fill your heart. Hold tight to the unity found in Him through the Father and through the love we share with one another. He has provided a way to know Him.

We only need to stand in the shadow of the cross.

Copyright © Cindy K. Sproles, used by permission.

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