Skip to content

A Crying Need


I noticed her at the early service. A first time guest, seated in the front pew, which is unusual enough. And then there was the weeping… on and off for the entire hour, through hymns and prayers and readings. During the sermon, she hung on every sentence, obviously hungry for the Living Word of God. Afterwards, I wanted to look for her, but worship ran over, and a rambunctious class of middle school youth awaited upstairs. Later, I learned that she had approached a member and asked for prayer. The response was, “The pastor isn’t available now.” When I heard that, my heart sank. For a fleeting moment, I thought about trading in my stole for a set of kitchen knives and culinary school.

Then I learned that Roger (not his real name) had welcomed her and sat with her in the sanctuary long after everyone else had left. Her life was a mess. In more ways than one, she told him. And Roger not only listened; he prayed. He asked the Holy Spirit for hope and restoration, imparting to her the very gifts of forgiveness and healing that she so badly needed. At that point in the story, I was glad I hadn’t put my stoles on ebay just yet. Apparently, Roger also showed her to a Sunday School class, where more members took time to minister with her and pray for her before beginning their study. This news made me think that I might just invest in a new stole.

Every congregation has “Rogers,” and thank God for them. But it’s conceivable that this woman, who came to church in search of help and hope, could easily have slipped out our doors at 9:45 having received neither. The reality of distraught, hurting people in our midst and out there in our neighborhoods necessitates a plan. How are we moving folks  from despair to healing and from healing to discipleship?  Might there be a time in our worship service or afterwards where people could receive personal prayer from others? What might that look like in a Lutheran context? How are we intentionally teaching and practicing prayer, and deploying those who have the gift? As my wife and I plant a new mission congregation, these are the sorts of questions that drive our thinking and planning these days. What might the answers be for your context?


No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: