It was the eve of Narlin's birthday when she received a text message from our friend. It says in effect, ‘the father of our worker is sick and he needs blood.’ Our friend is the director of the agricultural Foundation and he has several workers. This particular worker he was referring too is also our friend.
However, Narlin phone's battery was dead that night and it was only in the morning that she had read the message. She asked me, ‘are you willing to drive to Chiang Rai to donate blood.’ Chiang Rai is about 45 minutes to one hour drive from our home depending on the timing of the traffic lights. If all those traffic lights are green then we'll be there sooner, but if they happened to be all red then it will take an hour or so. But I digress.
Anyway, I agreed to donate my blood. In fact, I already missed doing it. I had been donating blood before that I could no longer remember how many times I have done it. Giving blood is scary. I know many people who are really afraid to give blood and I perfectly understand it. But when you overcome the fear, it is as easy as giving someone a drink, only there is a little pain involved.
So Narlin and I drove to Chiang Rai Hospital. Upon reaching the hospital, we called up our friend on the phone and told him that we arrived and I am ready to bleed. He met us at the lobby of the hospital and brought us to the ward where his sick father was. He introduced us to his father, brothers, sisters and nephews. He told them that I am a Pastor and a missionary here in Thailand. Then he asked me to pray for his father.
I wasn't supposed to do this. I expected to go the laboratory and give my blood and then just move on. At any rate, I had prayed for the sick on a hospital bed many times. And I was happy to do it.
My batting percentage in praying for the sick is very low my wife reminded me. It means many of those whom we prayed for didn't make it out of the hospital alive. Nonetheless, I prayed for him. This kind of prayer is the most fulfilling experience for me. Because I'm not uttering empty words, offering pretentious comfort for the sick and his family. I'm praying and I'm giving my blood and it is the least that I can do.
After the prayer, I uttered some words of encouragement to the sick. I then shook his hand and to my surprise he kissed it. I knew it was to show his appreciation either for praying or for donating my blood. But I surmised because I did both.
Faith without faith is dead. Likewise, prayer without efforts or at least an intention to be part to the answer of the things you are praying for is, for me, an insincere prayer.