A TRIBUTE TO THE DEDICATED ONES WHO WORK IN OBSCURITY (AND A STORY OF INTERCESSORY PRAYER)
There are dedicated Christians who go about their effective work for God in total anonymity. This post is about their ministries.
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They move mountains. They assist the Lord in maintaining lives and relationships. They do their work in secret. They are not in it for recognition or glory. They know that such an attitude would stymie their effectiveness. These are people who go about their spiritual work in such great dedication that they always plow ahead regardless of circumstances. They know the people they help need them and their work and are dependent upon them whether they know them, acknowledge them, appreciate them, or are even aware of what they do and have done. Recall the Lord’s teaching:
“When you pray, you are not to be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and on the street corners so that they may be seen by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.” [Matthew 6:5-6]
How many of us have been blessed by such selfless people and don’t even know who they are?
THE REMARKABLE POWER OF GOD
I remember a prayer story from my early days as a new Christian. I’ll get to that later. I was just a rookie but was absolutely enthralled at the prospect of God’s spiritual power working through human beings. In my short time to that point as a new believer I had already seen and experienced the undeniable outworking of His power. The greatest thing I saw at that early date was the magnificent transformation of a couple I knew who were instrumental in my salvation. What had happened to them?
I heard the stories. These were people I respected in my young life, people I hung around with. I hadn’t seen them in a short while but heard they had gone off the deep end. Something about a church. They had joined a church? I could hardly believe the reports. The next time I saw them, in a visit to my apartment, I saw two different people. I noticed right away that they were filled with some kind of happiness and energy. They were exuberant, smiling. It wasn’t due to the usual when a friend greets a friend. Something was decidedly different. Then, after a while, they began trying to explain what had happened to them. And they began witnessing. My great mood suddenly vanished…
The meeting didn’t end well. I basically told them to stop, to back off, or leave. They grew sad. And they left. Now, if this was just some sort of shallow sales job the way it is with some of those notorious witnessers who try to convince a person of the validity of their religious tenets it would have been different. Those kinds of people have no power with God. They thus have no real spiritual love. They essentially subsist on intellectual arguments or quote particular Scriptures to set the tone for a necessary choice to be made. They do this through stating their superior position juxtaposed with the lower position of the witnessee who stands in need due to his inferior condition. And while an aspect of this form of witnessing is correct, the attitude, purpose, and desire of those who “witness” this way are most often not.
I later discovered that those who the Lord worked through to bless me with my initial Gospel witness were undeterred and had decided to continue on in the fight. They were not satisfied with one short meeting that started out great but went bad. Though they were brand new to the faith and personally hurt by my negative response (though in my defense it was all so very strange and they were pressuring me to make a decision), they decided it wouldn’t end there. They went back to their church. They enlisted the big guns.
They told everybody to pray…
Their prayers proved to be my undoing. There were people in that little church who prayed for me but I never knew who they were. Though I knew later on that my friends were praying and maybe another one or two were, the subject was never addressed. Others had prayed some powerful prayers. There were strong collective prayers. They moved mountains. Long story short, after three months’ time their prayers worked to perfection. I came to full salvation in Jesus.
THE PRAYER STORY
After being settled in as a new Christian I began learning about historical New Testament happenings I was never previously aware of. I was raised in a Christian home but belonged to a denomination that didn’t put much or any emphasis on the Bible. As a result I had very limited knowledge of the New Testament. I certainly had no practical knowledge of how real Christianity actually worked so the things I began learning about the New Covenant Scriptures were somewhat shocking. Most Christians have a very limited understanding of the New Testament, usually confined to the basic Gospel story. When I began to learn what was actually contained in Paul’s letters regarding the operation of meetings, the gifts of the Spirit, and the actual history of the first-century Community of believers as told in the Acts of the Apostles, a whole new world opened up to me. I also experienced the actual operation of the gifts in our meetings. Then I learned about actual prayer and especially intercessory prayer. I learned how powerful the latter could be and how necessary it was. I became aware of the following story:
Somewhere in the mission field overseas some believers were driving a vehicle over relatively rough terrain. The car or truck, I can’t remember which, slipped off a bad mountain road. If not for some brush and mostly a particular tree stump the vehicle and the people in it would have suffered a terrible fate. As it began to slide down a steep descent just off the road the car immediately became temporarily lodged upon the tree stump. The Christians in the car could not exit safely. Of course, they began to pray.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, the Lord alerted a prayer warrior. This was a person used very often for intercessory prayer and knew the drill. The feeling came over her that it was time to pray. The anointing became very powerful. The woman, seeking relief, went to floor. She then grabbed the nearest table leg and held on for dear life while she prayed in the Spirit. In the midst of an extreme spiritual battle she prayed intently while holding on as if it was vitally important that she did so. After a length of time the anointing lifted and she knew the prayer time was over and whatever needed to be accomplished had been.
Meanwhile, in another part of the world, the occupants of the car hanging perilously, restrained by a mere stump which might or might not be able to continue gripping the ground, had also been praying. The car never fell. It stayed glued to the tree stump. The stump held. They had somehow managed, against all probability, to safely exit the car. It was later, when these people happened to meet up again, and in comparing notes, that the two parties discovered how the Lord had worked. The woman’s powerful intercessory prayer had assisted in the saving of the missionaries.
I have read of several stories like this. There are Christians who keep detailed prayer journals which also sometimes contain answers to their prayers. It is a wonderful thing to see such answers to prayer, some which come years later, as the Lord creates the circumstances for people to meet again after often “chance” encounters.
YOU MAY NOT BELIEVE WHAT JUST HAPPENED
A coincidence is when God wants to remain anonymous.
While writing the last section I received a message on my phone. It was from an old friend. A text from out of the blue. I had not been in contact with him for many years, over a decade. They live in a different part of the country and we had spent much ministry time together. As it turned out he still had my number on his phone which means he either still had the same phone which I would think would be highly unlikely or had transferred all his numbers. I no longer had his number. I‘ve been through several phones since the last time we had been in contact. I decided that his text wasn’t just a random event. I mean, here I am writing about such things when he happens to contact me after a dozen years?
Maybe half an hour later I decided to call him. He was doing some chores outside. We talked briefly, only a few minutes. It was great catching up and he said he would call me back later on after he completed the necessary chores. But in that brief chat he told me that his former pastor who I also knew very well had, in the interim, heard from God about three years ago to make a ministry move. He and his wife had left the fellowship they had served for many years and, are you ready? …They went into the mission field.
This was no run of the mill coincidence.
I ask those of you who like to pray, any of you who are prayer warriors, and those in intercessory prayer ministry, to pray for this couple in the mission field. I also ask that you would pray for my friend and his family. There is also an urgent unspoken need of someone I know that requires prayer. Thank you.
And thanks to all the dedicated ones who operate powerfully in obscurity for your vital service to the Lord and fellow believers, whatever it may be. You are MOST appreciated. Keep up the great work!
© 2022 by RJ Dawson. All Rights Reserved.
 Unless otherwise noted all Scriptures are taken from the New American Standard Bible, © 1960, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.