There was one other memorable scene that sticks in my head about that movie. It was when Bruce began “hearing” voices in his head. At first, he thinks that people are always yelling around him and he gets annoyed and agitated, but after a few days, he realizes that he is actually the only one who can hear the voices, and eventually figures out that he is hearing prayers being lifted up to God.
Out of desperation to make the ‘noise’ stop, Bruce tries to find a way to organize the millions and gazillions of prayers, and after several failed ideas, he ends up having all the prayers turned into emails. He sits at his desk shocked and dismayed at the amount of prayers that come flooding into the inbox, and then moved by how many people are hurting and in need.
I had a similar experience a few weeks ago, which brought this scene back to mind.
At the Proverbs 31 Ministries office, typically 15-30 prayer requests are received each day, from men and women from all over the country, and sometimes from other countries. But one day last week, nearly 500 requests came into Proverbs – in one day!!
Proverbs 31 takes these prayer requests very seriously, and my sweet friend Melissa normally tries to respond to each one personally, but this volume of emails was beyond her capability to answer in an timely manner, so she reached out to our team and asked for help.
Later that morning, as she began forwarding the emails to all of us, my inbox became flooded with prayer requests.
As I began reading through all the carefully written words in each email, the movie Bruce Almighty came to mind. Just as he had sat staring at the computer, overwhelmed by the number of prayer requests coming in, and acknowledging that he couldnt possibly answer them all, I now sat there in shock as well – not only at the volume of requests, but the words.
“please pray for my mom who has cancer”; “please pray for my sons who are facing prison time”; “please pray for my church which is falling apart because of the pastor”; “please pray that God will guide my teen daughter in her decisions”; “please pray for God to help my teenage daughter who is pregnant”; “my son committed suicide recently, please pray that I can get past my grief”; “my husband left me for another woman, please pray that I can forgive and that we can restore our marriage”; “I cant provide food for my family, please pray that God will provide for us”; “I cant find a job anywhere, please pray that God will open doors for me”; “I am struggling in my faith, please pray that God will draw me back to Him somehow”; “my husband is an abusive alcoholic, I dont know what do”; “I was sexually abused as a child and dont know how to feel alive and clean again”; “I feel God is calling me to serve, please ask God to show me the way”; “I cant have children, please pray that God will bless with me a child”; “my child is a drug addict, please pray that God will heal him of his addictions” …. to name just a few.
As I continued reading each and every one, my heart felt so heavy. I was reminded of what a broken, and desperate world we live in, how hard life is for some more than others, and the hopelessness that people feel in the midst of their problems.
I felt so inadequate to be the one to try to minister to these hurting people. I wondered how I could even know what to say, especially not knowing them or their whole situations; I was afraid I would say the wrong thing, or not say the right thing, to someone who so desperately needed to hear from God; someone who was feeling like the ol mighty smiter, was smiting them in life, and they didnt know which way to turn; who wanted to trust God in their circumstances, but were broken, discouraged and wavering in their faith; feeling like an ant under a hot magnifying glass.
But over the next few hours, I carefully responded to each one, pouring my whole heart into each response. And honestly, I have never felt more blessed.
God gave me the words to say in each circumstance, applicable bible verses to share, and a heart to be able to understand what encouragement they needed to hear. It was not my doing, but completely and absolutely all God, working through my fingers on the keyboard, and through the fingers of the rest of our team who responded to the other countless prayer requests that were forwarded to them.
Unlike Bruce Almighty, I was simply acting as the mediator, praying to God on their behalf, not trying to be the One making decisions about how to answer the prayers; all I had to do was surrender my time and my heart, and God did the rest.
It was a vidid reminder to me of how much I need to refocus my mind sometimes, and stop worrying about myself, and instead spend time lifting up others in prayer. God gives out the blessings, but we have the privilege of being a part of a blessing, when we take time to pray for others.
This experience really gave me a renewed awe of how awesome God really is. I am left speechless as I ponder how He can possibly intervene in our lives in such personal and specific ways, knowing that He has millions upon gazillions of prayer requests every second of every day. No word is sufficient to describe it, except, WOW.