When I was a pastor, I often visited residents in rest homes. I’ll never forget one dear elderly lady I met. She was blind and had been bedridden for 7 years, yet she remained sweet and radiant. One day she told me about a dream she had. She was in a beautiful garden, where the grass was a luxuriant carpet beneath her and the fragrance of flowers filled the air.
She dropped to her knees, entranced by the scene. As her thoughts were drawn heavenward, she felt the need to pray for her own pastor, for me, and for others. When she awakened, however, she discovered that she was still in her hospital bed. With a smile she said to me, “You know, Pastor, at first I was a bit disappointed. But in a sense the dream was true. This old bed has been a garden of prayer these 7 years!” Prayer had made her room a holy place of meditation and blessing.
Prayer also made a difference when Peter was in prison (Acts 12). It isn’t always easy to pray, for real intercession takes self-discipline. Many of us lapse into saying fine-sounding words without truly praying. God often drives us to our knees through the press of circumstances, where we are to “seek the Lord and His strength; seek His face evermore” (1 Chron. 16:11).
There’s a beautiful garden of fellowship sweet,
Where our prayers plant the seeds of reward;
And if there we will frequently make our retreat,
We shall gather rich store from the Lord! —Bosch
God and prayer go together; to neglect one is to neglect the other.