Waiting and praying
Hi, I am Mirjam, member of IBC Gießen. At the beginning of the year I had the wonderful opportunity to do a medical internship in a Christian Hospital in a predominantly Muslim country. Those three months were precious in many ways and I am deeply thankful for all the opportunities to learn and to grow! It is a place where God is at work and His Grace is present in wonderful ways!
Today we remember Pentecost: how the Holy Spirit was given, which was the start of the early church and of spreading the Good News. Let me share with you some thoughts on how Jesus invites us to pray and wait – wait for Him to start wonderful new things as on Pentecost!
Jesus had ascended back to the Father. His disciples and friends had been promised that the Holy Spirit would come, but here they were in the in-between, waiting and praying. Jesus had told them to stay and wait, and as they had been with Jesus long enough, they knew that their time would be spent well in prayer.
Being in this Christian Hospital for three months, it was impressive to me to witness the amount of time spent in prayer. Every morning in Chapel we took turns to pray for staff members. Daily, a team of women went through the wards to pray for the patients. Midwives and doctors would use opportunities to pray with patients and their families. Two or three times I wrote down “prayer” in the notes for a patient, next to all the other things that had to be tried to save the baby’s life. We had regular times of prayer for each other and reminded one another to pray for patients, for friends, for personal challenges, for things that had to be brought before God. Most impressive to me were the Wednesday morning prayers; at 6:30 am, three to five women would sit down together and pray for the clinic, the country, and for God’s kingdom to come – and more than once I thought that this half hour was the most important and precious duty of the day!
There was a lot of waiting, too: Waiting for God to help where we were at our limits; waiting for visas to come; for bank accounts to be re-opened; for bureaucracy to make any kind of progress. Waiting for answers to difficult, sometimes painful, questions; waiting for God to work in situations that have been prayed for, for so long. Waiting for friends and family to finally be open to Jesus and His invitation to them.
When Jesus went back to heaven, He explicitly told his disciples to wait and to pray. He didn’t send the Holy Spirit right away. He didn’t tell them to start spreading the Gospel or to start healing the sick or to prepare a church building – but to wait and pray. Eventually they became witnesses of something far greater than they had probably imagined, starting with about 3000 people being saved at Pentecost!
Being in the clinic I felt sure that prayer is one of the essential pillars to uphold a ministry like that. I often marvel at God’s work there: the many opportunities to serve, the grace and gentleness with which God would go beyond our limits, the freedom to speak about Jesus, the way He works in different people’s lives and brings them together for blessing and for His glory. Also, I got an idea of how the waiting is often part of the grace given and part of getting closer to Him.
Now being back in Germany I sometimes feel like being back in the in-between. I want to learn to embrace these times of waiting, of not being sure what will come next or how to continue the path started. I want to maintain the habit of taking everything and everyone before God in prayer and of waiting for Him to do His next step and to start wonderful new things, as He did on Pentecost!