Lilita is one of our prayer warriors. At over 80 years of age, and nearly completely deaf, she made the trip yesterday downtown on two buses, arriving a few minutes before the start of the meeting.
Every hair on her head was in place. She was meticulously dressed in her one, neat white Sunday dress that I have seen her wear for the past ten years. Around her neck she wore a necklace, rings on her fingers, costume ear rings, and shiny high heeled shoes.
Like Anna, the prophetess, in Luke 2, Lilita is a widow. Lilita's "temple" is the tiny apartment where her days revolve around serving the Lord "night and day with fastings and prayers" reading her Bible, and more prayer. Day after day, after day, after day. This is her life. This is her calling. This is her ministry. She takes prayer very seriously.
For more than 20 years she has prayed daily for each member of our family. Arising between 3:00-4:00am it takes her between 4-5 hours to pray through her list of 68 people she brings before the Father every single day.
When she is not praying, she cares for her elderly brother who lives with her on the seventh floor apartment. Several times a day, this 80+ year old sister in Christ climbs up and down the seven flights of stairs. Her adult children and their families all live far away in Chile. She has not seen any of her children or grandchildren for more than 30 years.
Even though she was unable to hear a word of what was being said in yesterday's meeting, it was important that she be present. She is as much a part of the work and ministry as anyone else gathered. She sat in her chair proudly, holding her head high the entire two hours, glad to be part of the proceedings, even though I doubt she heard a single word that was spoken (did all our words even matter a crumb compared to what is accomplished through her praying?)
When the meeting was over, she handed over a check. Lilita vowed before the Lord, years ago, to help support the ministry by giving $2/month of her meager income. Yesterday, though, she asked that we not cash the check until the 1st of June. She felt that would give the Lord plenty of time to provide the needed funds to honor her bank draft. When we tried excusing her by saying it would be all right to skip this month, she would hear nothing of the kind. "Esto es mi compromiso con el Señor, no con ustedes!" (This is my commitment to the Lord, not with you!) There is no arguing with this saint, so no more was said of the matter. The check will be cashed June 1st.
This is the same woman who 13 years ago, when our adopted daughter, Anna, was taken away from us for six weeks, we prayed night and day that she would be returned to us. After four weeks of praying, we decided it was not God's will. We held a private family memorial service and gave her back to the Lord.
I told this to Lilita one afternoon two weeks after the memorial service. I thanked her for her prayers, but let her know they were no longer necessary. We had accepted God's will and that was the end of the matter.
I will never, ever, forget tiny, hunched-over Lilita wagging her finger in my face and sternly rebuking me in the Lord, "NEVER, NEVER, NEVER STOP PRAYING UNTIL GOD ANSWERS. I SURE HAVEN'T AND WILL KEEP PRAYING UNTIL HE ANSWERS!" That very evening, two full weeks after we had stopped praying--but Lilita had persevered in prayer anyway--we received a call to come pick up the baby girl who is today, Anna Victoria, our 13 year old daughter. She was, of course, named after the prophetess who was rewarded "victory" after praying night and day.
This morning, our Anna Victoria is meeting here at the house with her "Girl's Bible Club" she started with two friends. My wife peeked in on their "secret girl's meeting" last night. Anna had her friends seated on the floor of her bedroom and was sharing with them a devotional she had found in a magazine.
It is a comfort beyond what I am able to express, to know that Lilita still prays daily for our daughter Anna, as well as for the rest of our family. She is part of the little "band of warriors" here in Guayaquil who, by faith, have taken head-on the kingdom of darkness, and will not give up until His Kingdom comes upon this earth, or die in midst of battle.
Only Heaven will reveal the full impact of Lilita's prayers in all that is taking place here in Guayaquil. Someday, I fully expect to see Lilita standing next to Anna the prophetess, where together, they will be amongst those in the "inner circle" bowed in worship around the Throne of God, as one-by-one, all the answered prayers over the years are revealed to them.