If you’re going to run out of gas the best way to do it is while your pastor is driving.
It’s not my fault. She’s a bad influence on me. We started talking the minute I turned the key in the ignition Saturday morning. Women don’t pay a lot of attention to the technical aspects of driving a car, especially when there’s a good conversation to be had. Now I know my gas tank holds exactly enough to get me from Tulsa, Oklahoma to Garland, Texas. But no more.
We changed drivers about the point when we crossed over to Texas because I was getting tired and still needed to continue driving an hour and a half after I dropped Anne off in Garland. Just as we got off the freeway with fellow exiting cars behind us the car sputtered. We both instantly realized we were out of gas. That’s when Anne shouted “Jesus!” like we were in some great revival tent. I hollered something about having enough to get us to the gas station God conveniently placed two streets away within our view. I know these things about my car, sadly, from experience. We prayed our way into the driveway and coasted up to the pump. Then it was my time to declare, “Thank you, Jesus!”
I like to think this tiny divine intervention was in return for a ministry well-done. Anne is a superb speaker and I can say this from a position of watching the last 17 years of keynote speakers at this youth conference. Normally, there is a parade of kids back and forth to the bathroom during the keynote address. The last two years I’ve noticed nobody left their seat while Anne was speaking.
Everyone had a wonderful week at Synod Youth Workshop. I felt surrounded by prayer. Whether it was in the room where people were walking the labyrinth or at worship, prayer was abundant. Then, if that wasn’t enough, I came home to prayer. And that’s not even counting running out of gas.
The Sunday after we got home I looked at the emptying sanctuary and spotted three people gathered close on a pew with their heads down. Without thinking about it too much, I asked someone in jest if they were looking for something over there. No, was the reply, that’s the prayer group. I vaguely knew about this but a lot happened while I was gone for those four months and this one escaped me completely. I knew Nancy Gray was praying daily on a blog as her work on the prayer team. But here they were in the church sanctuary with their heads bowed so close they were almost touching. Praying. For our church. For me.
More and more lately I’ve noticed things we say are being put into action and I laugh at how startled I am to see this. The phrase, “I will pray for you” comes so easily and so often that it was been discounted as merely a polite set of words but no one expects more than that. Every once in a while people really mean it.
It has stirred my own lazy prayer life. I can’t say it was changed my habits completely but it has nudged them. I am lucky and I know it, to have more time I can call my own than the average person and greater freedom to arrange my time the way I want it. Most of my prayers come in jerky movements as thoughts come to me. I have too much ADD to have a regular dedicated prayer time on my own. But reading Nancy’s blog has given me a pace to follow. I know she posts most nights late in the evening so I know when to look for it. The quality of what she says each day leads me to anticipate it with joy, almost like a promised ice cream cone at the end of the day or first thing in the morning.
Here's the address:
One of the activities we offered last week was the labyrinth walk but at the end we invited people to write a prayer. This prayer would not be read or used in any other way. It was just an outlet for people to express their thoughts and prayers to God. On the final night at worship these prayers were brought to the chancel as an offering to God. After the last small group finished walking the lab the staff was invited to come if they want so I had my own walk. Then when I got paper and pen together to write my prayers all I could think of to say was "Thanks." So I just wrote that word,or variations of it,on my paper.
And thanks be to God that I have reached a place where that is my most frequent prayer.
Now, if you are a "Wednesday Only" visitor you might want to check the previous entry. I continued to post Thursday, Friday and Saturday of last week but I've arranged them all in one gigantic recap of the week. I had new videos every day.