Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Prayer on the Island

Perhaps you noticed my Facebook Badge further down the right-hand side of my Blog page.  For those who know me, you know I’ve struggled with this media phenom.  I’ve written about it several times, on this Blog.  And this past summer I deactivated my “Facebook page” for two months, feeling the need to walk away.  Also, I wanted to see if I would miss it.  Strangely enough, while I was “deactivated”, I didn’t.  However, this story below, tells why I am now re-activated.  See if you agree.

A year ago, in the Autumn months of northern lower Michigan, I headed to Mackinac Island with a good friend.  We were excited to once again return to Win-Some Women, a Christian conference that has been in existence since the 1970’s.  On a whim, the day before leaving, I posted on Facebook saying I would be happy to pray for anyone, while on the Island, if needed.  Note, I stated I didn’t need to know their need.  God knows.  Having posted, I shut the computer off, and didn’t think any more about it, until I returned late that night to see if there were any requests.  Upon checking my Facebook page, I gasped.  I was steadily climbing to 100 requests, some did so with just a click of the “like” button, some with private messages, and even a phone message.  I was stunned, to say the least.  And now, what had begun as a whim, turned into a task.  I grabbed a pen and wrote everyone’s name on my nearby steno pad.  I also noted the specific prayer if they stated it.  Ironically, many stated it in the public forum, feeling no shame or concern.  While writing their names, which took me late into the night when I should have been packing, I was overcome with emotion.  But little did I know, that emotion was to peak once I arrived on the Island.

Heading north to the Island, the thick wad of notebook pages tucked in my pant’s pocket, I felt like I was carrying the weight of the world with me.  I had to do this right.  People were counting on me. 

I enjoyed the drive north, chatting and catching up with my friend, Lana, and once in Mackinaw City we parked and headed to the dock to board the boat.  Once on board, we enjoyed sitting at the front, in the belly of the Ferry boat, as we crossed the straights in cool, windy October weather.  Upon arriving, we took a carriage ride to the Grand Hotel.  (No motorized vehicles are allowed on the Island.)  We checked in and began attending the afternoon sessions.  The conference was underway. 

Between each session, I knew I had to complete my task, to pray for the folks listed.  I also knew God would lead me to do it at the right time, so I wasn’t worried.  So I waited.  That evening, after a delicious dinner of many courses, my thoughts again turned to my “list”.  As we walked past the appointed “Prayer Room”, I would look in, seeking solitude.  With 1000+ women at the Hotel for the conference, I knew solitude may not be the easiest request.

I went to bed that night, looking at the “list” sitting on the dresser, knowing we would leave the Island the next afternoon, making way for the new group to come in.  This particular conference is repeated in three sessions, many times “selling out” all three sessions.  I drifted to sleep knowing I must accomplish this task.  Again, knowing that people were counting on me.

The next morning, after another amazing Grand Hotel meal, I knew I had to act.  We had two hours before the morning session began.  I told my traveling partner, Lana, I was heading to the Prayer Room and would be praying for the folks.  Upon arriving, I found the room empty.  I took out the papers, unfolded them, and began to go down the list in prayer.  It was then, I realized I needed someone to join me.  The scripture about “…where two or more are gathered” kept going through my brain like a ticker tape.  It was then I realized a woman from my childhood had walked in and was getting settled.  Jane.  I knew her as “Mrs. A”.  She and her “dentist” husband raised their family about a block from where I grew up, in my hometown.  I had actually babysat for their children once when I was in my early teens.  Jane was also very involved in the church I attended while my children were growing up.  She was always easy to spot, impeccably dressed in beautiful colors, that made her entire being shine.  Now that I spotted her, I rose and hesitantly went over to where she was in the prayer room.   You know, I don’t even remember what I said.  I just know that she smiled her amazing smile (you know the kind…Jesus filled) and she led me to a table nearby.  And then it began.  We first began with a prayer.  Then, the names.  

I slowly read a name.  Then another.  And another.  Tears flowed.  I couldn’t stop.  I was mumbling the names through a deep, sob-restrained voice.  When I got to the bottom of the steno-lined page, Jane, with tears in her eyes, placed her hands on mine and knowing this was bigger than her or me, suggested we pray after each page.  Upon doing so, I began reading the names again.  Twenty names.  We prayed.   Another page.  Tears flowed.  Another page.  Sobs were caught.  Over an hour went by.  And so it went, until every name had been spoken.  And more prayer covered the process.  Both Jane and I were overcome with emotion, and for me, exhaustion.  The Holy Spirit was there.  He was full, and enveloping, and all consuming.  And comforting, for he IS the comforter.

Upon thanking Jane for being there, she suggested I leave the names in the prayer basket so the folks listed can also be prayed for throughout the next six months, as the conference leaders do each time.  They would be prayed for until the conference next May.  I released my burden, and left my “list”. 

After sharing our story with other conference leaders who had entered the prayer room, I hugged Jane and left, looking back to my folded steno-pad papers sitting in the basket, lined with names scribbled late in the darkness several nights before, taken from my Facebook page.  It was such a blessing to be able to deliver the requests.  To bring them to light.  Such an honor.

And the blessing was to begin, as the days following the event, turned into weeks.  On Facebook, I could see the prayers coming true.  Relationships were mended.  Jobs were obtained.  The list went on and on.  I was seeing prayers come true before my very eyes.  And I knew right then, that in all the 13+ years I had attended this conference, most years both spring and fall, this simple task of prayer made it the most important conference ever.  The day there was prayer on the Island. 

Romans 12:15  “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.”

Until next time, dear friends, Lord willing.



OurCrazyFarm said...

Amazing testimony, Sherry! Yes, God certainly works through the world wide web, and even Facebook:))

http://kimmxjayne.wordpress.com/ said...

I can attest as to the power of your prayers. Thank you!

Sherry Sutherby http://russ-stickacres.blogspot.com/ said...

Thank you Terri and Kimm ~ yes, God is at work...everywhere!