Pastor’s ponderings

Something pretty awesome happened this week; something that I didn’t see coming, but when it occurred left me in tears.  I was having a conversation with someone one day.  It started off as it often does with exchanging pleasantries and discussing current events, but as time went on the person I was with could sense that something just didn’t seem right with me.  They could tell something was off, that I was carrying a heavy burden which was weighing me down.  So, right then and there, they asked, “Hey, can I pray with you for a minute?”

            As pastors, we spend a lot of time in prayer.  Prayer about what is happening in our communities.  Prayer for the people in our churches.  Prayer for discernment over what it is that God wants us to hear in this week’s sermon.  Yet, rarely, it seems, does someone pray for the pastor.  Now, I readily admit that praying for the pastor may happen in private, as part of someone’s daily prayer routine in the comfort of their homes.  Yet never before do I recall, has someone asked to pray with me about what I am going through.  So, this time with this person this week stopped me in my tracks.  And, as they prayed, I could feel my burden lifting slightly, as if the weight that I had been carrying was now being shared with them.  They willingly took it upon themselves and lifted it up to the Lord as a sign that they were in it with me, and God would carry us through it together. 

            I distinctly remember telling someone one time that I would never pray for them but would be happy to pray with them.  Now, this could be taken out of context, wherein someone may think that I won’t pray for them.  Obviously, as I already mentioned above, I pray for a lot of people on a regular basis.  But this situation this week reinforced for me the value of praying with someone, not just for them in the privacy of our own setting.

            There is power in prayer, especially communal prayer.  As Matthew 18:20 tells us, Jesus said, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them” (NRSV).  Jesus is present when we pray together with someone, not just privately for someone, and just as I experienced, you can feel the difference.  How can you share Jesus’ presence with someone today?  Who do you know that is in need of a powerful prayer such as this?

                                      Always pondering, Pastor Steve

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