March, 2018 – Prayer

March, 2018 – Prayer

In August, 2007, I took a long trip to Sebis – a twelve-hour trip northeast of Brasov in Romania.  The purpose was to see the work of Dan Hurrelbrink, an American born fellow, and his wife, Maria, a Romanian.  At the time, they had three daughters – and had built their own orphanage.  Dan had taught me so much from an American’s point of view on how to live in the very foreign culture of Romania.  When I first went to Romania, I was blessed to stay in his flat in Brasov with his secretary while he was in Sebis and the States much of the time seeing to this ‘dream’ God had for him – an orphanage.  I will forever be indebted to Dan for teaching me so much.  I consider him to be a dear friend.  He is a man of purpose with a heart to serve the Lord.

However, getting to Sebis to view Dan’s and Maria’s work was something I had not expected.  I had heard so many horrible things about the trains, that I opted to go by van.  Such a mistake.  There were three men in this very small enclosure sitting behind me (the last seats) very drunk, very loud, and very smelly.  Sitting diagonally across from me was an older woman who had also not bathed in probably a very long time.  Sitting in front of her was a mother with a seven year-old (or, so) daughter sitting on her lap.  Because the roads were so winding, bumpy through and around the foothills, the little girl threw-up twice!  The mother was prepared and had a plastic bag for the occasion(s).  But, she never disposed of the bag for at least another one-hundred kilometers, or more until she was sure her daughter had completely emptied her stomach.  Then, she let it all fly out the window.  Can you imagine the smell – the smells(!) in that van?

In spite of the smells, about the eighth hour into the trip my blood-sugar level began to drop and I had to eat something.  I had peeled, quartered, and packed a couple of oranges back in Dan’s flat in Brasov before leaving, so I dug those out.  As I started eating, I looked at the older woman across from me who had apparently brought nothing to eat for the trip.  I took half of the orange sections out into a napkin for myself and handed her the rest in the plastic baggie.  She smiled and accepted them without comment.  Because of such poverty – and the lack of nearly everything, when the woman was finished with the orange, she felt the baggie belonged to me so wanted to hand it back to me.  I just shook my head and smiled at her and said, “It’s okay”.

There were two other women on the van, and a younger fellow sitting in front of me who could speak some English.  The only one on the van.  And, I didn’t know that until I needed some translation.  The van travelled on and on, but at the point where I was to get out, the van stopped – the driver turned around and looked at me, and ‘barked’ something.  I didn’t know what he was saying.  I didn’t know it was where I was supposed to get off.  The fellow in front of me turned around and said, “You go now”.  I was thinking, “Not possible”.  There is nothing here.  No buildings.  No anything!  And as the driver was getting increasingly agitated with me, the fellow in front of me insisted that the driver was right, and that I was to get off.  And, so I did.

I got off the van in fear and trembling!  And in the pitch black of the night, was left standing on the side of the narrow road.  Do you know what that means in Romania (and other countries, I’m sure) for a woman to be standing on the side of the road by herself?!  I grabbed my little Romanian phone and tried to call Dan.  Of course they weren’t home!  (Hopefully), they were on their way to pick me up.  I didn’t have his cell phone number.  But, I kept the little phone to my ear and started mumbling gibberish every time I heard another truck approaching as if I were talking to someone.  I felt despair!  I felt scared and so alone.  I felt as if I were about to disintegrate, mentally and emotionally.  I wondered what would become of me.  And would anyone ever know?

After standing in shock on the side of that road for a few minutes, I turned my face straight up to the black, black sky.  It was just before midnight.  The sky was peppered with bazillions of His twinkling creations.  And it was almost as if I could see beyond them, as I prayed, “Jesus, You are not only out there, You are in here, too” (as I held my hand close over my heart).  That’s all.  That’s what I prayed.  That vastness – His greatness – filled every fiber of my being.

Just seconds later, my phone rang.  It was Dan asking where I was.  I didn’t know.  I couldn’t tell him.  I just asked him to keep on driving.  We eventually connected – and I got delivered safe and sound to the Hurrelbrink compound (their home and orphanage).  (Just in case you are wondering, at the end of my visit in Sebes, I did take the train back to Brasov.  It not only was not a nightmare, it was quite pleasant!)

Back to prayer, though.  Billy Graham said, “It’s not the body’s posture, but the heart’s attitude that counts when we pray”.  And it’s not how many words we pray, or how long our prayer to the Father is.  There are times when I have prayed over one single situation/problem/need for hours straight ahead.  But, that dark, scary night on the side of the road, on the road to Sebis, my prayer was one sentence.  Just one sentence to my Creator, my Savior, my Sustainer – standing alone before Him.

It is our heart’s attitude when praying – whether we bow, kneeling before God (Psalm 95.6, II Chronicles 7.3, Daniel 6.10, Luke 22.41) – or with hands raised (I Kings 8.54, Ezra 9.5) – lie in sackcloth on the ground (II Samuel 12.16) – stand before the Lord (Genesis 18.22,23,  II Chronicles 20.5,13) – lift our hands in prayer (I Timothy 2.8a) – sit to pray (II Samuel 7.18) – or, lie down in our bed (Psalm 4.4, 63.6).   It’s all about what is going on in the heart.  That night on the side of the road to Sebis, I summed up my total and utter faith and belief in God in that one short sentence, ‘Jesus, You are not only out there, You are in here, too’.   With access to my God through Jesus, I was confirming that He was my Savior – my Sustainer – my Wise and Wonderful Counselor Who was so aware of what was going on – my Protector – the Lover of my soul – and so much more.  He is my All in all.