Last Saturday night, we were invited to go with our friends Dean and Patti to their church in St. Petersburg, FL. The church had started a new thing in which, once a month during the service, they brought prayer teams to the front of the church and opened it to anyone wanting prayer. The idea was to be more open to the movement of the spirit during the service. I felt like the Lord was saying, “Go and see.”
I looked around the church during the worship service and got the sense that the people were not there out of some sense of obligation but for a purpose. The room had a familiar feel; it felt like a class of first-year seminarians, full of zeal and anticipating what might be presented. It seemed like just the kind of crowd where the Lord might show up and do something. I didn’t meet the pastor, but during the service, he seemed like a capable minister of the scriptures but, more importantly, someone with an intimate knowledge of the Lord.
At the proper time, the prayer teams spread out across the front of the church. Fewer people went forward than I anticipated would. It’s hard to know in any congregation how many people need prayer. I saw six people with obvious physical problems who didn’t go forward for prayer but may have done so before this meeting. I found it fascinating to watch both those ministering and those being ministered to.
The prayer time seemed to be winding down when I suddenly felt the Lord impressing me, “Go forward for prayer.” I was halfway to the front of the church before deciding what to ask for. Some of the prayer teams were walking away before I reached the front. There were two ladies that I was heading for when suddenly they began to pray for each other. It was my fault as I was the one who was too busy watching people and coming late to the party. I stopped, waited, and heard a voice behind me say, “Would you like prayer?” I turned to see a man wearing a name tag that said “Prayer Team Guy.” I thought the name tag was humorous, but it turned out that his first name was Guy, and he was on the prayer team.
It was the following day before I realized what the Lord wanted me to “go and see.” What happened there was the same thing that happens to me every time I do something new. If I’m the one that’s doing the praying, I worry that there’s something in my life that would keep God from giving those I pray for their answer. I have to remind myself that it’s not about me. The Lord lives within those who believe in him. All I have to be is a physical presence for the Lord. He might want me to put my hand on someone and pray if needed. The words don’t need to be exactly right because the Lord listens to my heart.
If I’m the one that needs prayer, the thought goes through my mind, “Am I worthy to receive this gift, or do I believe the Lord will do it?” I have to remind myself that it isn’t about me. The Lord loved me when I was at my absolute worst. I’m not so great now, but I’m better than I was, and he still loves me. Once praying for people or going forward for prayer is normal, all those questions go away. It’s human to want to do things the way we have always done them. It is also human to have a problem being comfortable with what’s new.
The church there in Saint Petersburg will be fine; they look like they are on the right track. Both ministry and congregation seem to have a good heart, and I believe God will do wonderful things through them.
The Lord sent me to go and see because he has been asking me to move into some new things. I’ve struggled to believe I’m up to the task of things he’s asking. This past Saturday, the church in Saint Petersburg gave me answers to questions I wasn’t smart enough to ask. The Lord is up to the task, and I just need to hang on to him while he is hanging on to me.
Photo by Ron Lach
Leave a Reply