One of the things I love to do is to go to a little coffee shop near my house and read the Bible. I have been going to the same shop and sitting at the same table for about ten years. As a result, I know the regulars, and they know me. One day a man I had never seen before walked in. Before my emotions and my mind could filter my actions, I reached out my hand and introduced myself. The strange thing was that I felt like I was “pushed” into doing it; not in a bad way, just not of my volition. As I extended my hand, he extended his and introduced himself as John. John saw that I had a Bible on the table and asked me what I was studying. We then had a lengthy discussion about the Bible, faith, and God. I learned that he was a Christian, but he was not attending a church. He had experienced some church hurt, so he stopped going. We had covered multiple topics before he mentioned to me that he recently met someone he felt was his soul mate. I was happy for him and told him it was a blessing that the Lord placed the two of them together.
He told me that he loved her, but that Jane’s mother lived with her, and she hated him. He said he had done everything he could to win her mother over. He said her mother was afraid that Jane was going to become pregnant, and she did not want to live in a house with an unwed mother and a baby. John said he told her numerous times this was not going to happen. He said they were both 36 years old and responsible adults. To win the mother’s support he said he sent her roses, and he wrote her letters. He said he also got down on his knees in front of Jane’s mother and professed his love for Jane. He also asked her for Jane’s hand in marriage. He said the mother was mean, hateful, and uncompromising. He was at wits’ end and did not know what to do.
When I finally got an opportunity to interject, I asked John if he and Jane were praying for Jane’s mother. I told him that it sounded like she had a heart issue, and that was something only God could change. I told him they needed to give the situation to him. John looked at me sheepishly and said yes he prayed for her. However, he said yes the way a child said yes when you knew they were not telling the truth. I told John not only should he pray for the mother, but he should also pray for his relationship with Jane. John thought these were great ideas, and he began taking notes. We talked about the prayer points that he and Jane could stand on, and he was excited about getting started. After a conversation that lasted close to two hours, it was time for me to go. I grabbed my backpack and was just about to step away from the table when John said, “So do you think I should write the mother one more letter?” On the inside, I silently screamed no, but not wanting to be rude I said, “John that sounds like a last-ditch effort to control the situation.” Oh OK, he said, “I should let go and give it to God.” Yes, I said, that’s the answer.”
As I walked out of the restaurant, I thought why is it that so many Christians see prayer as the last resort and not the first step.