Luke 21:36 tells us to pray always and Joni shares an example of when she took that to heart as she encountered two women with bad lungs.
I drove to the supermarket the other day with my friend, Judy, and we pulled up into a handicap space. Opposite us was a woman shuffling painfully and pulling an oxygen tank (she had a little mask on; she obviously had bad lungs). Oh boy, we waited to see if she needed help getting into her car, but the bag boy was by her side. So I went ahead into the market -- I looked over my shoulder, though, and saw Judy walking toward the woman's open car door; I figured Judy had gone to help the sick woman close it. They started talking, so that's when I decided to go back over. Well, there was this woman in the driver's seat smoking a cigarette. Oh, she assured us she had turned off for oxygen, but still! Judy asked her right then and there if she were a Christian because, "Ma'am, you are not long for this life... you'd better be sure you know where you're going!" We ended up giving her a Joni book and, standing there by her opened car door, I prayed for her. After a few minutes, we headed on toward the market.
Well, we weren't inside that market 10 minutes when, by the meat counter, I ran into my friend Robin whose 21-year-old daughter just had a lung transplant. Her daughter has had cystic fibrosis all her young life and doctors had given her just months to live. And so she decided, at the young age of 21, to go ahead for a lung transplant. But, Robin nearly was crying, she said, "My daughter's new lungs are leaking, and she may have to have another surgery. She is in so much pain; she's feeling so demoralized!"
Now, can you believe the irony of all this?! Just minutes earlier we had encountered a woman who could've cared less about her lungs -- who, in fact, was smoking her poor, diseased lungs to death. And then, just minutes later, we run into the mother of a young girl who is fighting for her lungs, struggling to hold onto them, praying and hoping they'll last! Well, I immediately told Robin about the woman we met in a handicapped parking space outside. We were all struck with the irony! This was obviously one of those strange divine appointments... one of those uncanny Luke 21:36 moments where God tells us to, "Watch ye therefore, and pray always..." Well, we definitely felt the call to prayer right there in front of the meat counter. That's where Judy and Robin and I bowed our heads and prayed. And I have continued to pray virtually every day for not only Robin's daughter, but for the salvation of that woman on oxygen.
This day you will encounter many Luke 21:36 moments -- ironic and uncanny opportunities to pray. No matter where you are, in a supermarket parking lot or in front of the meat counter or at work by the elevator or in a college dorm... by the entrance to the dry cleaners or in front of the school. Just watch ye therefore, because God would have us always to pray.
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