Therefore, angels are only servants—spirits sent to care for people who will inherit salvation. [Hebrews 1:14 (NLT)]
“I’m the answer to Pastor’s prayers,” said the woman lightheartedly as she sat down next to me at Bible study. Having seen on Facebook that he was praying for more people at Bible study, she felt the urge to come. Her comment caused me to think about the way God uses us to answer people’s prayers.
I was looking at the vast array of allergy medications when another woman joined me. While perusing the shelves, we discussed the merits of various brands. She then said, “I see from your cross, you’re a Christian, so you’ll understand. I know I should be thankful in all things but I’m just having an awful time with this one.” She went on with her grievance that severe allergies had suddenly attacked her at sixty years of age. I sympathized since, like her, I never suffered from allergies until my senior years. “Perhaps,” I suggested, “we should be thankful that we haven’t had to suffer from them since youth!” We talked a little about gratitude and God and joined one another in a quick prayer. When done, she said, “Thanks; I needed that!”
A stranger approached me at church and asked if a certain pastor had arrived. After telling her not yet, something made me pause and ask if there was anything I could do for her. Replying that she needed someone with whom to pray, I offered. She shared her concerns and we laid them before God in prayer. We chatted briefly and I gave what comfort and guidance I could (along with a big hug). I then offered to find the pastor but she said, “No, you were just what I needed.”
I think of a friend who, when he discovered a loved one was using drugs, was devastated. The next day, he had lunch with a business acquaintance who asked what was troubling him. As my friend poured out his concerns to a man he barely knew, the businessman shared his own story of addiction and gave some much needed and excellent advice. He was just what was needed.
Were those mere coincidences or were they orchestrated by God? That first woman didn’t have to come to Bible study. In response to the woman with allergies, I easily could have said, “That’s too bad,” and finished my shopping. As for the woman who needed someone with whom to pray, after telling her the pastor wasn’t there, I could have gone about my business. That businessman didn’t have to ask my friend about his troubles and he certainly didn’t need to share a very private part of his own life. By responding to someone’s need, had we become answers to their prayers?
Although angels are God’s messengers and spiritual beings, I wonder if we humans might also act as His messengers and be given opportunities to answer people’s prayers. Rather than ministering spirits, we are ministering mortals. Although we have bodies and angels don’t, there is a bigger difference between God’s holy messengers and us. God’s angels have unquestioning obedience to His commands; we, on the other hand, often ignore Him and the opportunities and tasks He sets before us. God’s angels are sent by Him to help believers—but so are their brothers and sisters in Christ. Could you be an earthly angel in disguise? Could you be the answer to someone’s prayers?