My weeks from Sunday to Sunday were hell.
Though my heart had been set free from my depression and past mistakes through a transformational experience, my mind was under attack. Satan reminded me of every transgression. I found some relief by agreeing that his accusations were true, but countering with truth: God’s love was greater than my sins. I even carried notecards in my pocket on which I’d written scripture verses that comforted me.
Though interactions with people were superficial and draining, I lived for Sunday. I was so grateful for the freedom I had been given, and I wanted to express gratitude to God; worship was intense and heartfelt.
Sunday worship was my escape from torment.
Strength Through Prayer
Soon, I desired to begin praying, but praying for people who made requests at church left me lifeless and discouraged. Prayer was ever on my heart, but my prayers were boring and fruitless, it seemed. I wondered if Jesus was treating me as he did Peter. After what Jesus called Peter’s sifting — the night Peter would deny Jesus three times — Jesus told him to turn and strengthen his brother, and, later, to care for Jesus’ people.
I knew Satan had sifted me, like he did Peter. And now it was time to care for Jesus’ people. Though weak, I felt my strength returning. I searched the Scriptures related to prayer and purchased a few books. I was fascinated by George Mueller’s faith in God’s provision for the orphanages he founded, and I loved Andrew Murray’s book on intercessory prayer.
The Bible confirmed it’s not only we who pray, but the Holy Spirit prays in us and for us. I attended intercessory prayer meetings in the community. I watched “prayer warriors” lead services and pray for attendees. I was out of my comfort zone, eager to learn, but concerned about being misled.
Meanwhile, I had taken a part-time position at a homeless shelter, teaching Bible classes and counseling women. The more I learned, the more the Holy Spirit gave me unction to pray for the women, and I responded the best I knew how. He began to move on behalf of the women. It was here I learned how real the spiritual war is for souls.
And then I met Vivian.
An Unexpected Answer
Vivian responded to an outreach at her church. She was the pastor’s daughter, but she was not a Christian and was addicted to crack. She came to the shelter and was assigned to my caseload.
On a Wednesday, about 11 a.m., my heart felt very heavy. It was my day off, so I was home doing some housekeeping. Grief is no stranger to me, and I have learned to lean into it to experience the emotions rather than resist them, weep if I need to, and then move on.
But this time, the grief process and emotions became incredibly intense. It quickly moved into intercessory prayer with the Holy Spirit moving inside of me. I grabbed my Bible and turned to the Psalms. I walked through the house reading, praying, weeping, calling out to God. At 5 p.m., the heaviness finally lifted. And Vivian’s face came to my mind. I knew I had been praying for her, but I had no idea why.
The next day, Vivian was sitting on the steps of the shelter. She needed to talk. We found a quiet room, got comfortable, and she recounted the events of the previous day.
She had walked to a nearby mall for lunch. Realizing she was going to be late returning for classes, she hitched a ride with two men. They took her to an abandoned warehouse where they repeatedly raped her. She managed to get to an emergency room at 5 p.m., precisely the time my heaviness and prayer lifted.
Then I asked if she thought she was ready to pray. We slid to our knees beside the sofa as she spoke with Jesus, and we knew angels in Heaven rejoiced.
We wept — this time for joy.
Both Vivian and I found God’s mercy through difficult circumstances; there was joy even amid grief. God’s ways are not our ways, and we can’t comprehend them. He proved to be my greatest love through a refining process. He is our strength in our weakest season. He teaches us to pray and even prays for us when we’re not sure how.
Oh, for faith to trust Him more.
Geneva Seeds is a lifelong learner. She and her husband are retired. They divide the months between Michigan and Arizona. Michigan time is for reconnecting with family. Arizona time is for exploring and learning new things. In her pursuit for Truth, Geneva has acquired a few degrees, though degrees are the result, never the object of her pursuit. She has been given a few roles to play: daughter, wife, mother, grand-mother and most recently great-grandmother. Some years, she says, she has done better than others.