Another story on the power of prayer… in this one, though, I was mainly an observer. This occured earlier this summer, while my wife, son, and I were over at my mom’s house one Sunday afternoon.
We’re all just taking it easy, hanging out at my mom’s house, when my cell phone rang. It was Nancy, my neighbor in “the big house” just around the corner (the best set of neighbors I’ve ever known, I might add). I figured she had a computer question for me, as that’s the “going rate” for me borrowing farm equipment every now and then. But we were in for a bit more drama than that this time.
“Your horses are running loose,” she told me. “Some other neighbors down the road came to us thinking they were ours, but they’re yours. They said they last saw them galloping east down the road, running as fast as they could towards freedom. Are you guys nearby?”
Of course we weren’t. We were around 30 minutes away, under normal conditions. So we pack up real quick, and take off. What can we even do? We can speed home, hoping to make a difference. We can pray our neighbors find them, first of all, and then can somehow catch them. We can freak out, worry, and think that will make a difference.
So I’m driving, Erin’s riding, hanging onto her seat, I suppose. Colton’s in the back doing who knows what. And I ask Erin to pray. I can’t really remember how it goes, but it’s much the type of prayer I would have prayed. “God, keep us safe. Get us home quickly. Keep the horses safe. Please, God. Keep them safe.”
There’s a little back story to this (actually more than a little, but I’m only writing about a little). As I’ve mentioned in other posts, prayer has been all over my radar screen this year. At this time, I’d just been part of a virtual “class” called The Hope of Prayer,” (Links 1, 2, 3, 4) led by John Eldridge and provided by The Daily Audio Bible. It contained quite a bit of teaching on what they called “The Prayer of Intervention,” in which we really get down to effectual prayer that gets things done. Not fancy words that have special effects, or deeper levels of understanding, but simply understanding how prayer works – historically, through the Bible, and today. I’ve shared bits and pieces of it with my wife, and one of the things I’ve learned most is to “chase peace.” That fruit of the spirit – peace – is so helpful in prayer. Even if we don’t know the answer, or how to get there, peace is still available. Not the kind of peace that makes it all better or even makes us confident that it will all just “work out,” but the peace that understands that God Is In Control, no matter what… and releasing our own grip.
So I ask Erin if she has peace. I don’t really, and neither does she. So we try again. This time, she gets more specific… I don’t remember the whole thing, but one part stood out: “God, I don’t know how to ask this, but would you, could you, just have our horses come home?” Sure, they were last reported 1/2 mile away from the house and running, but what the heck… if someone’s going to step in, it’s God. “Do you feel any peace now,” I ask her. “Yes,” and so did I.
As we near home, when we’re about 2 miles away, we do what any logical human would do, we start looking around for our horses. We slow down, scan the then short fields of corn and bean seedlings, but see nothing. We get closer… still nothing. We drive past the house, and on down the road a little bit. Not slow enough that we could see anything, and we’re still thinking about that prayer a while back. “Could they be home?” So we turn around and decide to take a closer look around the house and barn before we continue the search.
As we head back toward the house, WE SEE THEM. They’re not on our property, but instead, they’re standing in the neighbors’ large pasture, not 5 feet from “home” but on the wrong side of the fence, just standing there, like they’re waiting on something. I can almost picture them, galloping away down the road… Erin’s prayer is lifted up (the first one), and they just keep running. “Yeah, we’re safe, and having a great time!” But on that second prayer, the daring one, the specific one… they put on the brakes. They hear their creator. “Go Home,” he tells them. And go home they do. Somewhere along the way they take a wrong turn and wind up at the wrong house, but they see where they need to be and the shortest way to get there, so they head off, running straight through a single-strand electric fence to get there. And then they wait.
How cool it was to call our neighbors and tell them we found them, and that they were not but a few feet from home. “We never thought to look there,” is something of the response I thought to get.
How great it is to see a prayer from start to finish. To see and get a glimpse of the authority God wants us to have in this world, and that He’s given to us, if we will only put it to use.