I realize we are now on the other side of Christ’s passion and death. Yet, it’s often beneficial for one to reflect back on the journey that brought them to the other side of Good Friday to the glory and wonder of the empty tomb. This day, I am reflecting on an event, which occurred during the season of Lent, that God continues to use to speak to me.
In mid-February my wife, Allison, experienced a serious health issue that landed her in the emergency room and ultimately in intensive care. By the grace of God, Allison’s health is restored. We have been amazed by the outpouring of prayers, love, and support from our family of faith. Thank you, we give thanks for you with a gratitude too deep for words.
At one point, while in the emergency room, the doctors and nurses had left the room. There I was with Allison, who was not yet stable or conscious, and I held her hand and began to pray. My prayer could be summed up in the petition of the Lord’s Prayer which says, “Give us this day our daily bread.” The daily bread I asked for was for Allison to be stable and regain consciousness. Soon after I prayed, a friend named Natalie showed up in the emergency room. Natalie is an emergency room nurse but not at that particular hospital. Natalie took over the process and asked the doctor and ER nurse questions that I didn’t know to ask. She suggested interventions that I didn’t know to suggest. She became an answer to the petition.
Soon I received calls and texts from people saying they were praying for Allison. Then people began to stop by and pray for Allison. Some were friends of ours who work at the hospital and received word of Allison’s condition. Two friends, Kim and Lisa, whom I had been with in the past when their loved ones were in poor health, came to pray for Allison and for me. And of course, many from our church family came to pray and offer support. I felt such gratitude, but I also felt such a burden for those who lacked the “daily bread” we were experiencing from God through our community of faith.
I think of two men in the emergency room that evening. One in the room to the right of our room and the other to the left. One man was being watched over by a nurse through a window. I didn’t know his condition but I think he must have been suicidal. The other man, in the room to the right of us, was treated and then arrested. I began to wonder who was praying for them to receive daily bread. I also thought of those in the ICU whose rooms stayed vacant other than the medical professionals. Who was praying for them to receive daily bread? Then I began to think of all the people who, day in and day out, are alone and forgotten—the millions in our world who are in need of daily bread. They needed it yesterday. They need it today. They will need it tomorrow. Yet, they go unnoticed in our world.
The late J. Ellsworth Kalas, had a practice he called the “Apostolate to the Anonymous,” meaning he prayed for those anonymous people for whom no one is praying—people who seem not to matter to anyone else in the world. Ada Hughes once said, “We ought for all those children in the world whose pictures are not on anybody’s dresser.” Will you join me in carrying on this discipline that Dr. Kalas practiced? Will you pray for anonymous people who need someone to pray for their daily bread? We may not even know the person’s name for whom we are praying. Remember that no one is anonymous to God! Jesus gave His life and rose again for every person! Thanks be to God!
-Dr. Steve Pulliam
Senior Associate Pastor