My husband Tim and I were eating lunch at Cracker Barrel when a family nearby got up to leave. I watched as the mother placed a walker in front of her little girl. The child, probably around five, then made her laborious way out of the dining room, patient mother by her side.
I was moved with compassion as I envisioned what this family’s life must be like. My heart cried out to God, “Oh Lord, heal that little girl. Help that family.” I vowed silently to pray for them, and as I did, an unexpected thought entered my mind.
“Go pray for them right now.”
Immediately, an internal battle began to wage. “Lord,” I argued, “Why can’t I just pray from a distance?” Would He not move in this family’s life if I didn’t audibly pray for them in their presence? Why did I have to get up and go to them in the middle of a busy restaurant? What if they didn’t want prayer? What if they thought I was crazy? What if people looked at me and—what if, what if, what if.
The negative scenarios continued to flood my mind, but then a new line of thought arose. What if God used my obedience to affect the life of this family, now or for eternity? What if God touched this little girl physically because of it? What if, through a prayer of faith and a simple act of love, this family was encouraged to carry on for one more day? What if they needed to know that someone in the world had noticed their life?
Why wouldn’t I want to be part of that? Would I let my fear and pride stand in the way of what God might be ready to do? I suddenly realized I didn’t care what other people thought. For the sake of that little girl and her family, I was going to tangibly show them the love of Christ, regardless of the cost or result.
With all seriousness, I told Tim, “I have to go pray with that family. Don’t let the waitress take my salad!” Then I got up and found the family in the merchandise section of the store. Walking up to the mother, I said, “Hi. I know this might sound crazy, but I feel the Lord wants me to pray for your little girl.”
I waited for the lady to grab her daughter and run or yell an insult at me, but instead she smiled and said, “I don’t think that sounds crazy at all.” She asked my name and introduced me to her daughter, Sophia Rose. Then, right there in the middle of Cracker Barrel, I knelt down, laid my hands on this little girl’s legs, and prayed. When I finished, I arose and faced the parents. Through tears, we hugged and I left, promising that I would continue to pray for them.
I don’t know what God was doing in that interchange. The girl didn’t suddenly abandon her walker and run through the store. Lightning bolts didn’t pop down from heaven to show us that God was moving in some miraculous way. But you know what? I don’t need a sign.
God prompted my heart to get up and pray for that family, and I trust Him. My flesh didn’t direct me to do this thing, because I would have far preferred to stay seated and continue eating my salad. But I know that when God places a burden on the hearts of His people and they obey, He moves—whether we see something happen or not.
Yes, God could’ve touched that family without me. God is God; He can do anything. But for reasons I cannot explain, God chose me to be a vessel through which He would demonstrate His love, power, provision, and presence to this family.
But I am not unique—if you let Him, He will use you the same way. We are God’s hands and feet on this earth. Our purpose as believers is to show His love to others— even when it’s not convenient or comfortable. If we don’t act, how will they know His love? How will they know He cares?
Now, I’m not saying you can’t pray for others from afar. But how often do we promise someone we’ll pray for them and then forget to do it? I know life has a way of erasing those promises from my mind, and I don’t think I’m alone in that.
What if we moved out of our comfort zones? What if we physically went and prayed a simple prayer of faith, not just for but with someone today? I believe people would be healed, hearts would be encouraged, and circumstances would change.
What if God is ready to use you today to change someone’s life? Would you lay aside your fear and pride? Would you risk something for the sake of another? It’s a chance worth taking.