Yesterday at church, the pastor was updating us on a family in which the husband / father of 2 teenage boys is battling cancer. Then, he said if anyone else in the congregation needed prayer, we should just stand. No need to tell why we needed prayer – just stand. And then he, along with the rest of the church, would pray for them.
After hearing about that family, no one stood. Finally, one person did.
I considered it, given what’s happening in my life – but compared to the family, how can I stand? It’s not like my wife has cancer.
Last night though – during my quiet time with God (yes, I’m a night person, so my quiet time is at night, not in the morning) He hit me big time about my decision to not stand..
It was like God was telling me – “is there really anyone in your church that doesn’t need prayer? What make’s you think you’re so good?”
And then – I realized – what kind of church are we – what kind of picture do we present when we pretend the only people in the whole church that need prayer are one family where the husband / father has cancer and one person with an unknown reason?
How welcoming do we look to new people who are seeking God for help, when we’re telling everyone in the room that we’ve got it all together and don’t need any prayer for any reason?
What we really need now is the prayer Jesus had for Peter –
Lk 22:31 “Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. 32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
Except for that one person who wanted prayer so much that he stood while the rest of us sat, pretending that we don’t need or want prayer –
we all got sifted.
Now – I pray that we accept Jesus’ prayer for us – and that we strengthen each other, so we can be more accepting of His gifts – and be more welcoming.