What I Learned From The Time I Didn’t Pray

What I learned from the time i didn't prayOur church secretary, Bonnie, knocked on the doorframe and poked her head into my office:

“Pastor, I just wanted to let you know that there’s a woman in the sanctuary. She said she just got diagnosed with skin cancer, and she needed someplace to come and pray.”

“Does  she want to speak with me?” I replied

“She said she just wanted to sit and be alone with God. When I showed her to the sanctuary, I told her you were here and if she wanted to talk, to come by the office. Either way, she’ll come by on her way out.”

I thanked Bonnie and went back to what I was working on.

A little later, I heard the office door open and a shaky voice saying, “I just wanted to thank you.”

I heard Bonnie get up from her desk and walk around to the office entrance. She replied warmly, “The pastor’s here if you would like to speak with him.”

I got up to quickly clear my briefcase out of my guest chair. I was ready to meet with this woman, pray with her, and offer the love of Christ.

In the outer office, I heard the woman break into tears and share with Bonnie her struggles. Bonnie spoke gentle words of grace. I was about to go out there, but a still small voice said, “No. Wait here.” “But Lord,” I thought, “the woman needs a pastor.” “Listen,” said the still small voice.

And so there I stood, just out of sight, listening as the woman shared a little more of her story. Bonnie offered words of scripture and comfort. As I listened, I understood that the woman was receiving exactly the ministry she needed. If I blundered in there, I would only interrupt a beautiful moment of ministry. I heard Bonnie offer to pray, and the woman said “Oh yes, please!” As Bonnie prayed for Jesus to heal and bless this woman, I silently added my personal “Amen.”

The woman thanked Bonnie for being so kind and available. And she was on her way.

I thanked God for reminding me so directly that ministry isn’t just for seminary trained “professionals” – ministry is for all Christians. We are a “royal priesthood, a holy nation” (I Peter 2:9) after all. We have been redeemed by Christ, and now we are, each one of us, sent by Christ. Each of us is an instrument chosen by God to bestow His blessing and care to those in need.

I thanked God for reminding me that ministry is right on our doorstep. We don’t have to travel far. Ministry opportunities come to us every day in the people around us. We just have to be ready to respond.

I thanked God that our congregation cares for and maintains this building, which is a public witness and a draw for people to come and seek an encounter with God.

I thanked God that we have a staff that understands their job as more than tasks to be accomplished; the understand their call to take time to be with people and extend the blessing of Christ to them.

The story of Bonnie’s ministry to this young woman a part of the great story of what God is doing through the congregation at Covenant-First. It reminds me that we all need to keep sharing our stories of God working in and upon us.

Where are you finding opportunities to bless? How are you allowing other people the space to extend blessing? How are you graciously receiving the blessing that others extend to you? We need to share these stories with one another so that Christ may be glorified (Matthew 5:16) and that we may be encouraged in our own ministry (Hebrews 10:24).

So what’s your story? Where have you seen God at work? I’m looking forward to hearing about it.

Soli Deo Gloria

Russell

Originally Shared in the July 2017 Covenant Courier

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2 thoughts on “What I Learned From The Time I Didn’t Pray

  1. No doubt Bonnie glowed all day after her encounter with that woman. And you gave Bonnie that opportunity, so you get to glow too! Recently Steve and I had the opportunity to encourage a waitress, and Steve blessed her with a generous tip. He does that frequently, with a statement such as, “We’re just passing on the blessings that God has provided in our lives.” The recipients always break into big smiles; we do too!

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