I had an interesting dream last night. At the time it had a very cohesive storyline, but on waking I remember only a few particular scenes.
I don’t think it was set in this country. Joe and I were walking along a road. There was a huge metal fence on the right hand side. It ran the whole length of the road, and beyond the fence there were houses. We were trying to get to the houses, but there were no breaks in the fence. It wasn’t something you could climb over. A young boy was on the road just ahead of us. Suddenly he was the other side of the fence heading out towards the houses. There was a very narrow gate that if you had not been searching for, you would easily have missed it. Joe seemed to have no problem getting through the gate, but I had to really suck in the gut to get through!
We headed towards one of the houses. Joe knew exactly where he was going and he knocked on one of the doors. It was a shanty town and the houses were small one roomed affairs, cobbled together with cement and corrugated iron. Joe knew the woman who answered the door and she let him in. I don’t know why, but she was extremely angry with him. I told her that Joe helped people. He stood up for people who were being railroaded over in their workplaces. She shouldn’t be angry because he could help her.
There were two other people in the room apart from the woman. Her husband was lying on the bed and her mother was sat on a chair in the corner of the room. The woman told us that because her husband was ill, she was the sole bread winner in the family and she was paid very little money for the work she was doing. They were not able to make ends meet and struggling to keep from starving.
It appeared that her husband had been attacked by two vicious dogs. He was severely bitten, and the flesh on his back had been badly gored. They either didn’t have money to get medicine, or because they were so poor, the doctors had taken advantage, charging them money for medicine that was no use. The wounds had become infected and he was getting worse.
The man crawled off the bed and come over to where I was standing. He took off his shirt and showed me the wounds. Then he asked, “Will you pray for me?”
I have prayed for people in real life to be healed, and I suppose, like many other people, I am never sure that my prayers are very effective. The times when I have prayed for myself to recover from debilitating colds, I have not noticed much of a change. In the back of my mind was the haunting question, “What if I pray and nothing happens?”
As I prayed for the man, I thought about myself as a child going to her daddy. (I rarely think of God in terms of daddy!) I had this picture, I suppose, of a child with a broken toy, taking it to daddy to fix it, entirely convinced that he would fix it. Even entertaining the idea that he couldn’t or wouldn’t fix it was unimaginable. I remember closing my eyes – thinking perhaps that not actually looking at the man’s torn back might, in some bizarre way, prevent me from doubting that God would heal him.
The prayer itself was interesting. I can’t remember the words, but I began worshipping God. The opening phrases were confident declaration of His love and compassion. When I got to the bit about healing, I was almost whispering. There was no rebuking of demons or anything, but just an urgent whisper that God would act. I kept thinking I shouldn’t be whispering, but loudly proclaiming God healing to the man, but it was like I had no voice.
However, despite the lack of volume, the man was healed. There was no sign that he had ever been hurt. The wounds and the infection were gone and the skin on his back was smooth and clean. I disappeared to the toilet to praise God in my own way, and noticed that the house that had just the one room suddenly was much bigger. It had a kitchen and bedrooms that were not there before.
The man’s next request was “Tell me about Jesus.”
I am not sure what I said. I have a feeling that I got bogged down trying to explain the trinity! I was totally dissatisfied that I couldn’t come up with something clear and to the point! He wasn’t put off though and asked me to come back the next day to tell him more.
Joe and I went back to wherever we were staying. Somehow we managed to get a hold of three or four Bibles to take with us. I am not sure that I persuaded Alan Scotland, a leader in my mother’s church to come with us, or whether he insisted on coming anyway. When we returned to the house the next day the house was packed out with people.
Alan Scotland stood up to start preaching and the healed man gestured him to sit down.
“We have come to hear what you have to say,” he said to me.
And then I woke up! (Much to my relief)
There are people that take delight in dissecting prayers – feel free to do so – but for me the challenge was all about that question “Tell me about Jesus.” I have been with people over the last couple of weeks who, like the woman in my dream, are finding life difficult. Like the man, they are injured and incapacitated in some way. They didn’t say the words “Will you pray for me?” or “Tell me about Jesus” – but that is what their lives were crying out! I didn’t see it then. I have prayed since!
The question, “Tell me about Jesus” is provoking my spirit. I have walked with Jesus for many years and I should be able to tell people about Him and not struggle to say what people need to hear! I perhaps feel that other people, like Alan Scotland, would do the job better than me. Much as I would like to pass the buck to a more gifted person, there are people who want to hear the Good News from me. I just need to make sure I have a clear message.