Day: March 9, 2020

Lent 12 ~ Open the Prison Gates


Let the prisoners’ sighing come before You;
with Your great power free those doomed to death.   ~  Psalm 79: 11


Yesterday, I told Jesus, Help me to pray the prayers You want me to pray. Then, I had a very brief and quick vision: It was daytime, perhaps in the morning. I saw a clear blue sky and a mountain range. And from behind it, a small, very bright sun rose quickly. Reaching the highest point in the sky, a burst of light came forth from the little sun.

          I understood this to mean that yes, God would give me a prayer, and pray it I must.

          Early today, God placed before me one of the women He wanted me to fight myself to love. Actually, I only saw her back as she was walking some distance in front of me – I was not treated to a hard look or even the usual scornful swish as she strode past me. Even then, my first reaction was disgust.

          It was only a little later that I belatedly recalled the prayer I was to pray for her, I love you because Jesus loves you.

          Today, Psalm 79’s Let the prisoners’ sighing come before You; with Your great power free those doomed to death, arrived once more at my consciousness, as it has since 2017. Each time that verse has caught my attention, it has always been for one of my superiors at work.

          In 2018, after the verse came, I prayed for those who needed it. And then, I saw the word, Gates. I wasn’t told what it meant, and till today, I hadn’t come any closer to an answer.

          Seeing the verse once more now, I wondered if my prayer for today was to once again pray for my superior’s release from the sin of loving money.

          And then, as is always the case, I clean forgot about it.

          Past 3 in the afternoon, I saw this man’s car and was a little surprised that he was still around. But I had a list of things to tick off and that was that.

          Buzzing around town, about to pull into a parking lot, I saw another car. It belonged to one of the local business owners whom I had approached some weeks back for sponsorship. He hadn’t been happy to give and the brief encounter had left a bitter aftertaste. I avoided him after that, but here now was his car.

          Without pausing to think about my annoying sensitivity to the slightest nicks, I took the plunge and prayed from the heart, I forgive you – although, honestly, that was the last thing I actually felt for him.

          It was late in the evening that I recalled Psalm 79:11 once more. I remembered my desire to want to love God. Then, it came to me that God had used cars and registration plates to remind me to pray. Today too He didn’t bring me face-to-face with those who hurt me but who needed prayers. Instead, God showed them to me but He showed me their backs.

          On each occasion except for one, I failed to pray. I gave in to myself – my feelings, my busyness – and the moment passed.

          I could easily pray for my boss now that I remembered, and also the I love you prayer for the two women. But I had not prayed them at the moment of call.

          So, I wanted to make up for it.

          I looked about my day and there was scant little to offer, except that it had been a long and tiring day. So, I took each little difficulty and offered them to heaven.

          Everything endured today I offered for prisoners, as mentioned in the psalm.

          In a quiet moment, I suddenly understood the meaning of Gates: they were prison gates. Each one of the three people God had brought me today were prisoners behind different prison gates – money, pride, hatred, jealousy, revenge. Yes, they had hurt me, and it was very difficult to pray for them.

          Yet, each one is loved by God. He loves them as much as He loves me. If I want to love God, I have to love them as well.

          Because only love will open those prison gates.