Monday, August 10, 2009

And Words Came

This is an account of my efforts to put into action what I learn while reading the Bible, an account of my journey to become closer to God.

You may remember that in the past I have written of my anxiety about praying out loud in front of others. I say in front of others because I don’t mind talking out loud to God when I am alone, even though I’m sure someone has sat in a car next to me at a red light convinced that they were watching a fool. Who knows how many times I’ve been the subject of a dinner conversation that began with “Today I saw this guy…”

Anyway, during the last six months I’ve had more and more opportunities to pray out loud in front of others and the task is coming more and more easily to me, especially in deciding on the spot just what to say. The irrational fear of my brain freezing is now gone and I’ve realized that not once in my lifetime have I ever heard anyone say “Dude, your prayer really sucked,” so I’ve been patting myself on the back with congratulations that I was now a pray out loud kind of guy.

But then I was thinking I’d be praying out loud only every once in a while.

As it turns out, that is not what God had in mind for me.

This past Saturday was another Movers and Shakers ministry day; Cameron and I worked five hours on a team delivering or picking up donated furniture. The day begins at the warehouse where we load the necessary items on a truck and then head out to make deliveries to needy families, then go from home to home picking up furniture someone has donated, and take it back to the warehouse for later distribution.

As always, the ministry leader prayed over us as we prepared to depart, and then reminded us that we were to pray with the families at each stop we were scheduled to make that day. That’d be seven stops on this particular Saturday.

It seems an unspoken rule has somehow evolved over time: the younger guys do most of the heavy lifting while the oldest guy says the prayers. Usually I am not the oldest volunteer on any given day; there has always been at least one volunteer somewhat older than me working on my team.

But this Saturday was different. I was the old fart.

We were at our first stop carrying a queen mattress up a flight of stairs, me walking backwards, when the guy on the other end of the mattress said, “Hey, why don’t you handle the prayers.” If I’d seen that coming I might have chosen to carry the small end table. It least I wouldn’t have had to climb a set of stairs backwards.

So I, duly appointed by tradition, prayed for the families, donors and volunteers at each stop. The first one came easy; as I’ve pointed out, I was well accustomed to talking with God out loud by then. It’s just that I’d never had so many conversations with Him in the same day, at least not outside the comforts of my own head.

I was worried that I’d run out of things to say, that my team would get tired of listening to me repeat myself, that Cameron would interrupt me in front of everyone and say “Dang, you’ve already said that three times bro!”

But to my surprise, a new prayer came to mind each time we bowed our heads. All I did was ask the person at each stop what they’d like me to pray about, and each time a specific prayer request was given. After that, words simply just came.

So what did I learn that day? That even at the age of forty-nine years, six months and one day, I can still walk backwards up a flight of stairs while carrying a mattress, Cameron never loses his appetite for Shrimp Fried Rice, and when you are willing to do the Lord’s work, he shows up and helps you get it done.

BTW, Cameron earned his Movers and Shakers tee-shirt! He’s worked alongside me for that ministry on two different weekend days. Not bad for a twelve year old!

Well, I guess that’s enough for today. Thanks so much for visiting my blog, and please pray for me and my family. Now go out and hug somebody!

1 comment:

Ginny said...

"when you are willing to do the Lord’s work, he shows up and helps you get it done." Greg, you have learned a life altering, opportunity opening, things will never be quite the same kind of lesson! And not only does He help you get it done...He does it through you. You are His hands and feet, His smile and hug in this needy world. Keep praying out loud, my friend!