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Three years ago, I would never have considered asking my server at a restaurant if I could pray for him or her. Even though I was a Christian and prayed regularly, I lacked awareness of how to pray in the moment – especially for others. I also lacked courage. I would have been so concerned with what others thought that I would not have been able to step outside of my comfort zone and pray ALOUD(!) for a stranger. My focus would have been turned inward on me – my fears, my insecurities, my…SELF.

Today, I was with a dear friend for breakfast, and our server – a young woman – was very honest with us about her morning. She was facing some tough challenges. My friend asked this sweet woman if we could pray for her. That did not surprise me – my friend is a prayer warrior. What surprised me was my reaction to our server. If my friend had not asked if we could pray for her, I knew in my heart that I would have. How did that happen?! Lord, really…how did that happen?!

I have known that the Thistlebend Bible Studies I have been a part of have been life changing. I know that my heart is changing – every study, I feel the Lord molding and shaping my heart and transforming my thoughts. But I saw tangible evidence today, as the Lord allowed me to care for a complete stranger. I realized my fear of man and being judged had significantly lessened. The Lord opened my eyes to the needs of someone else and, by His grace, my eyes stayed on her. I did not turn my gaze inward.

Yesterday, our daily homework included reading a passage of Daniel. In Daniel 6 we read how Daniel’s enemies devised a plot against him: they persuaded the king to pass a decree saying prayers could only be offered to the king. Those who were disobedient would face the lion’s den. Daniel ignored the decree, because he knew the one true God. He prayed to God three times a day. Not even the threat of death could keep Daniel from communing with his Lord. As we know from Scripture, Daniel was caught breaking the decree and was indeed thrown into the lion’s den. The Lord himself saved Daniel.

I thought about Daniel as I left the restaurant today, and thanked the Lord for His Word, and for examples such as Daniel – he was fearless in his love and devotion to God. I thanked God for Thistlebend, for the studies that have helped my faith and prayer life grow and strengthen. And I thanked God for allowing my friend and me to sit at a certain server’s table so that we could pray for her in the moment, encourage her, and remind her how the Lord loves her. What a precious gift we have, to be able to approach our Heavenly Father in prayer – for anyone, at anytime.

Growing in Grace

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