Shabat Thoughts: Passing the Baton
A few years ago a friend came to me with tears in her eyes. She told me she'd been in prayer over a situation in her life for a long time and hadn't seen any results at all. "I'm asking if you'll take over and pray for me about this," she said. I agreed. It was the beginning days of my becoming a prayer warrior and I was just feeling my way along. I realized that something momentous was going on with this request but it took several weeks for me to understand it more thoroughly.
John had a situation at work that had become difficult and consuming. He told me wearily one morning that he'd been praying over it for months and it just wasn't getting any better. "I'm tired," he said and I knew he meant his spirit was weary. "So stop praying. Let me pray for this for you. Pass the baton to me." He looked puzzled. I explained to him what our friend had done, asking me to pray for her situation. "She needed to step back and rest and I've been praying over it for her. I don't have the emotions tied with this that she does. I can do the same for you."
This isn't about answered prayer. Answers did come, but much further down the road. This is about being spiritually weary, spent and worn down. It's about needing a fresh recruit to fight the battle you've been fighting, a new runner who will take the baton and run the next portion of the race. It's about asking for help.
For the past seven years I've prayed for an individual. In the last few months I've found myself frustrated, angry, bitter, upset. I became more and more anxious. Nothing I did was the right thing despite prayer. It seemed I was plagued with missteps in the situation. Little barbs that oughtn't have hurt became infected with bitterness. I wept, I raged, I pleaded and then I'd try again and get wounded again.
Things became so bad that I no longer had words to pray. I was stone. I prayed only that God would understand and forgive me.
Things came to a head this week. Twice I had to deal with fallout in the prayer situation. I felt weary beyond words. I'd been telling John for the bulk of this year that I was 'tired', and yet it wasn't a physical tiredness. At this point, even John's shoulders sagged hard. He was tired, too. His prayers too had become difficult to pray. I told him it was time to get this sorted out. I sat down to write in my prayer journal Friday morning and poured out my heart...and that's when I found myself reading the very words I needed to see. "I'm too tired and weary to keep up this prayer. I need to pass the baton." Immediately I thought of two or three prayer warriors to turn to.
I came to John and read him what I'd written. He nodded. He asked a pertinent question or two then suggested two people to carry the baton. One of those was also one I'd thought of. We agreed I was to contact the person and ask if they were able to accept the burden of prayer.
I wrote a letter explaining the situation and the need for someone fresh to do battle while I healed. It was graciously accepted.
I cannot tell you how deep the peace was that came over my spirit. My head was quiet for the first time in months, instead of frantically replaying every situation and incident and result and wondering what to do next. I slept hard that night. I woke with the same quiet, deep peace.
I've thought of it now and then, but briefly. Each time I'm able to say "Oh but R is praying for that, I can lay it aside." It doesn't matter what the outcome is or how long in coming to a resolution. It matters only that I have time to step back, assured that it's covered. What's more, having stepped out of battle, I will no longer be continually attacked because I am no longer on the front lines. The attacks won't be as vicious on my prayer warrior. There is no emotional investment there, which has been a problem in my battle. Not only will this warrior pray for the situation, he is also praying for ME, something I most desperately need at this time.
Are you battle weary, worn out, wounded? Have your prayers become rocks that are thrown back at you? Then pass the baton. Let someone else pray for you and your situation and take some much needed time to Rest and Recover.