by Teresa L. Randle – Article / Jan – March 2020
Many years ago, when I was first a Christian, I was very blessed by a Christian Jamaican neighbour who went to the same church as me. I loved Aunty Mary very much. She was a lady whose prayer life was amazing. She faithfully prayed for me, mostly without my knowledge. One Thursday when I was at work in my signal box, on the railway, I felt so sad, I had been feeling slightly depressed for a while but this day I cried out to the Lord as I was particularly sad. Suddenly at precisely 7.15 pm, the depression lifted and I felt so much better and was praising God. The next day Aunty Mary came round and asked me if I felt OK. She just dropped into the conversation that she felt the need to pray for me at house group. I asked her if it was 7:15 pm and her face lit up, “Yes, that was the time exactly.”
There were many other times that she felt the need to pray for me and others; what a faithful woman of God! I still miss her and remember her with great affection as she has now gone home to better things. She “got” me and was a great encourager in my life.
I want to talk about two other wonderful ladies from the Bible who held each other up when life was at its hardest. The first one was Elizabeth, a relative of Mary the mother of Jesus.
Elizabeth and her husband Zecharias, were both “righteous in the sight of God, observing all the Lord’s commands and decrees blamelessly.” Luke 1:6
They were getting along in age and had no children. She was probably criticised heavily by all around them as being the result of some hidden sin in their lives. Zecharias, after his name was drawn by lot out of nearly 1000 names, just happened to be praying in the temple, he was a priest from Aaron’s line and it was the turn of his section. Then Angel Gabriel came to tell him his prayers had been answered and Elizabeth would have a baby. He was struck dumb by Gabriel as he couldn’t believe it at first. Everyone outside knew something had happened in there because of the length of time he took, so they presumed that he must have had a vision. Imagine Elizabeth’s face when he tried to tell her when he got home!
Young, sweet innocent Mary also was also visited by Angel Gabriel a little while later, like Zecharias she would have been terrified. Seeing an angel was normally been associated with death in the Jewish tradition. Imagine how hard it must have been to explain to a young virgin girl, as good as married to Joseph that she was already supernaturally impregnated with God’s child? The only way out of that betrothal was divorce and a lifetime of shame and poverty ahead or being stoned to death, not good news for a virgin but her response is one of quiet submission in obeying God’s will. Joseph, we are told in Matthew had considered quietly divorcing her but an angel came to him also and explained what had happened and encouraged him to look after Mary.
Soon after Mary travels to Elizabeth’s house and the Holy Spirit filled Elizabeth as the baby John leapt in her womb. These Holy women with Holy husbands were joined together not only by family bonds but Holy bonds, chosen of God for purposes bigger than themselves, that would change the world forever. Both were pregnant with God’s promises. John, meaning the Lord is gracious, was to pave the way as a Nazarite, like Sampson (Judges 13:5) to begin the deliverance of Israel for Jesus. And Jesus, a Greek form of Joshua, meaning that the Lord saves, would go on to save the World.
What better person for Mary to turn to? Who else would know what Mary was going through, who else could comfort this young girl? Elizabeth had seen the effect on her husband of seeing an angel and the miraculous outcome that had followed so she obviously could see the same effect upon her younger cousin.
There is a strength that cannot be measured in the sisterhood of praying partners, we are not made to battle on alone. If you are not blessed yet with that edifying relationship, try praying and asking God for the right person to come along. That is why it is so valuable to go to assemble together to worship the Lord. The prayer of agreement is doubly powerful.