I like to think I go to church hungry. Better than anyone else knows, I know my needs. I need to lift my heart to Him in transformational worship. I need to hear His voice. I think I am needier than most and I want to make sure I go hungry to His house.
But it’s an easy step from that attitude to a totally selfish request. There will be others there as well when God’s people gather – whether many or few. What about them?
You can be sure that in virtually every pew in your church there will be a broken heart. A marriage on the edge. Someone struggling with a life-altering temptation. A college student struggling with an addiction. A teen doing major battle with his parents. A lonely senior worried about some physical symptoms and wondering if God has forgotten. A sophomore girl who wonders how to tell her parents that she’s pregnant. A stranger looking for hope.
So my question is, how sensitive is your congregation to the eternal battles that are going on all around you in the family? God wants to use that time and that place to change the population of eternity. Sins forgiven; marriages healed; new hope; new victory. So we learn to watch and pray. Watch for the one who is obviously engaged in an intense battle. Watch for the evident struggle. Watch for the signs of desperation, fear.
I know of a church that has a larger than usual corps of greeters at the door. As folks enter each is welcomed warmly, then generally asked, “How can we pray for you today?” The first time that happens you are a bit surprised…at least I was. But then it begins to sink in that God is at work here in this place and they are expecting that He will show up today and do what only He can do. Is that the expectation where you worship?
Eleanor’s husband of 44-years died and left her alone in a big house. Finances were slender and she wondered, among other things, how she was going to care for the large yard around her house. She didn’t want to feel like a beggar and ask for help so she prayed fervently that God would somehow care for this very practical issue in her life.
Randy was a college student and one evening at vespers he noticed Eleanor sitting alone on the other side of the worship center. Knowing she had lost her husband some weeks before the question flashed through his mind, I wonder who is caring for her big yard. He felt a prod in his spirit that he should ask her, so he did. He didn’t understand why she began to cry until she told him her story. He took the job and she paid him weekly with freshly baked bread.
What life-changing work does God want to do in your church next week? Maybe you’ll want to ask Him how you can help. Like the Book says: watch and pray.