God Gave Me My Prayer Partner
By Gloria Shell Mitchell, D.Min.
(Author of The Garbage Man’s Daughter: Letting Go of Shame)
I angrily cried out to God in distress saying, “You could have healed Ma Moore’s body!I just don’t understand why you allowed her to move back to Arkansas.I miss her so much.”
Ma Moore and I met exactly one year prior to her relocation.She quietly lived alone in a noisy Los Angeles neighborhood.Confined to a wheelchair, this 73-year- oldprayer warrior had never experienced school.So, with a girlish look, she happily greeted me (her Reading tutor) in her home every Friday afternoon.
As we read and discussed the Scriptures from the Good News Bible, she grew determined to put her faith into action.First she surprised me by hobbling to the door one day, sporting a walker and wearing an artificial leg.Next, a wooden cane replaced the walker.Finally, she courageously limped to the door aided by faith alone.My reaction equaled the enthusiasm of a mother watching her baby take her first steps.As we embraced, tears flowed and laughter filled her tiny one bedroom apartment.
Now, with my play mother in a climate supposedly better for her health, I felt abandoned.God knew how much those visits meant to me.Only God knows the countless times we cried on each other’s shoulders following our emotional prayer sessions.Despite the generation gap (I was 36), we shared many of the same experiences and concerns about the world in which we live.
I felt an inexplicable void in my life with her gone. God knew I had no family in Los Angeles, but He still allowed her to be taken from me.So I pleaded with God to give me another precious friend like Ma Moore.
Three months and a river of tears passed before I had the following dream that assured me God had heard my cries:
I lay in bed asleep.Suddenly, I opened my eyes and beheld a brilliant light beaming from a white, inflated (balloon-like) pillow.The round pillow with ruffled edges beckoned to me from the floor.In big bold black print the word Northern appeared across the center.Directly beneath the word, in smaller black print, I saw 2-1-79.
I cautiously crawled out of bed, tiptoed to the pillow and picked it up.Immediately, I began to float in the air.Still clutching the pillow, I floated toward the bedroom door which opened as I advanced.I floated through another room in unfamiliar surroundings and observed a padlock on the front door open miraculously before my eyes.With the lock removed, the door flung open and I felt the breeze in my hair as I flew to progressively higher elevations outside.
I kept flying higher until I bumped my head on the bedroom ceiling.One glance downward revealed my whereabouts; hovering over my bed.As I gently floated onto the bed – like a leaf falling from a tree – I discovered an ordinary pillow in my grasp.My head snuggled into the pillow and sleep returned.
When I awoke, my dream was so vivid that I pondered its meaning all day at work.Not knowing anyone named Northern or any special event that occurred on 2-1-79, I suspected God had given me a phone number.One glance at the list of Los Angles prefixes in the telephone book confirmed my suspicion that Northern represented the first three digits of a phone number.
I had one slight problem – how does someone call a stranger and say, “God gave me your phone number?”
Unable to rest, I reluctantly dialed the number from home that evening after dinner.I surprised myself when I heard my voice say to the woman who answered, “May I speak to Muhammad Ali?”Since I had tried unsuccessfully to locate Ali for a guest appearance at a Christian youth conference I was planning, I undoubtedly assumed God had given me his phone number.
The woman on the other end of the receiver replied, “I once had a tenant by the name of Muhammad, but he moved long ago.”
I apologized to her and quickly hung up.I was certain I had the right number because I had recorded my dream.“What now?”I thought.
On the following day I shared my experience with my close friend, Linda, who greatly encouraged me.Linda suggested that I, “Call again, identify myself as a Christian, and ask if someone in the household needs prayer.”
After much prayer and several deep breaths, I called the number again.A woman’s familiar voice answered. I calmly stated my name, church membership, and the fact that someone had given me her number.“As an intercessor, I’d like to know if anyone in your home needs special prayer?” I asked.
The woman excitedly replied, “Would you believe I just finished praying!I’ve been asking God for a prayer partner.”Humble Mrs. Emma had made an emotional appeal to almighty God the previous night while watching a preacher on Trinity Broadcasting Network (Channel 40).When viewers were instructed to join hands with someone during prayer, she reminded God that she had no other believer in her home.Her desire for a prayer partner stemmed from the preacher’s message stressing the added power when two or more pray together (Matthew 18:19-20).
Bubbling with excitement, I shared my dream with her.Mrs. Emma, a 69 year old grandmother of Spanish and Mexican descent, had been reared a Catholic and had not engaged in a personal study of the Scriptures.She had specifically asked the Lord for a prayer partner who would teach her the Scriptures and how to pray effectively.
“What a perfect partner,” I thought.As I remembered my prayer sessions with Ma Moore, I realized that God had given me another play mom, but of a different race.
Since January 8, 1988, Mrs. Emma and I have prayed via telephone on Tuesday nights.We seldom visit due to the distance between us.However, we realize God was aware of the distance when He put us together.I gave her a Good News Bible (my favorite translation), to help increase her understanding.Now, she is amazed at her own ability to read the King James Version with ease for the first time in her life.
Not only does she read her Bible, she also memorizes whole passages despite her claims of being forgetful.Her insecurity about praying correctly has disappeared.Mrs. Emma blesses me with her prayers and faithfully supports my ministry to troubled youth.
Mrs. Emma, who teaches me Spanish, refers to me as her first Bible teacher and a very dear friend.She has shared Good News Bibles with her family in hopes of generating excitement about God’s Word.Her sincerity is quite inspirational.She finds it difficult to believe that it took her all these years to discover the joy of the Lord.
We have jointly shared our testimony about the miraculous way the Lord brought us together at Central Baptist Church in Inglewood, CA, at Silver Lake Presbyterian Church, and in Bible classes that I’ve taught.
I thank God, who, in His infinite wisdom, chose Mrs. Emma more than twenty years ago as the prayer partner I needed so we could grow closer to him and to each other.“And with all his abundant wealth through Christ Jesus, my God will supply all your needs” (Philippians 4:19 TEV).
Note: On December 16, 2010, Mrs. Emma, who often complained in her latter years that God had forgotten her, slipped away at age 93 to be with Jesus while I was at the bedside of another friend who also went from earth to heaven. Losing her helped me to empathize with Job who said, “God gave, and God has taken away,” (Job 1:21). Blessed be the name of the Lord for his miraculous gift to me in the form of Mrs. Emma, a loving prayer partner now interceding for me in heaven.
Read more at www.encouragemintbooks.com.