Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Wilderness Knees

I believed for much of my Christian life that in order to be able to pray effectively, that I had to follow the guiding principles of Mark 18:20, “For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.” Jesus was giving the believers an assurance knowing they would eventually gather fearfully at times after He had ascended to heaven. But it was an erroneous assumption on my part that my prayers alone were not potent enough. . . that I had to have a partner or a group of people to reach the ears of God.
That was until the year I discovered the power of wilderness knees. I use this term to describe the times of hard-fought spiritual battles, the ones that are fought invisibly in the heavens on our behalf because we have spent some knee time before God and often in isolation. I think of John the Baptist crying in the desert and his words falling on only the sand and the wind. But it was in the isolated wilderness that God lifted him up and used him like a town crier. . . Make way! Make Way! God is come to earth!
And so it happened that I had read an article one year in a local newspaper about a mother who was asking a librarian to remove a pornographic magazine from the eye level of her young child. She wasn’t trying to be prudish or fracture anyone else’s rights but was asking that the magazine be removed from plain sight of her young child as they entered the library door. Emotional intelligence ought to prevail. But instead the librarian refused to move the magazine out of sight claiming First Amendment rights. The story was buried on the back page of the local newspaper. I bowed my head at my desk at the office where I worked and prayed. I asked God what he thought ought to be done about it. I then quietly picked up the telephone and called the local mayor’s office. I asked him about the article and if he had gotten any complaints from parents. “No, none at all,” said the mayor. He seemed sympathetic but told me that without a consensus, he had no call to act. “Would you respond if it seemed that more parents cared?” I asked. “Of course. But no one cares. You’re the only one who’s called,” he told me.

I got off the phone and studied the matter thoughtfully. I took some time during my lunch hour to pray some more and called church offices around our town. I summarized the article to each secretary and told them what the mayor had said, that no one seemed to care.
After an hour, I went back to work. By the end of the day, I wondered if my quiet prayer and the hour spent in phone calls could have possibly done any good. After all, I was a nameless mom. Out of curiosity, I called the mayor’s office before the close of office hours. I was surprised to find his office in a frenzy. “What’s wrong?” I asked. “Little woman, I don’t know who you are but we have been getting phone calls not only from local parents but from all over the country. Even the ACLU is calling and a TV news magazine. What kind of strings did you pull? You must have a lot of clout,” he told me. “No,” I told him quietly. “I prayed and made a few phone calls. “Are you pulling the porn out the library?” I asked. “It’s gone,” he told me. He never gave out my name to any of the media. I was glad. I liked the solitude of wilderness knees.