Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Don't Expect Me to Say I've Been Praying For You

When our church had regular prayer meetings .. in the church sanctuary .. there'd be a little table out in the narthex, with prayer cards on it. Folks who attended the meetings would stop by and sign the cards, and the church secretary would then send the cards to those who'd been mentioned in the prayer meeting, to let them know that they'd been prayed for in the fashion that our church prayed for folks in that weekly meeting.

I'd always felt a little uneasy about that, for some reason I couldn't really pin down.

Then, perhaps 14 or 15 years ago, in preparation for our move to the church's present location, we formed a little prayer team. We figured that, if we were building a new building and designing the front of the sanctuary area (I don't call it an altar area, as Ed Stetzer says it isn't one unless we have table there upon which we're slaughtering animals) for people to come and pray, that it'd be nice if those folks didn't have to line up to pray with the pastor, and if we were going to have people praying with those folks who came forward, by gosh they'd best be prepared and instructed on what to do, and what not to do.

Some of us FBC'ers had been attending Kingwood's prayer meeting, and they kept pretty good control on who they'd let pray with others at their "altar", so as to assure that no Mormons, Jehovah's Witness, or any other religion they'd consider apostate would "infect" their prayer life within their church.

As part of our process, we started meeting on Sunday mornings, before church. Those meetings got so "heavy", we started meeting on Thursday evenings, too, and the church responded by putting prayer cards in the pew racks. Suddenly, we had a little basketful of prayer requests to pray over, every Sunday morning and Thursday evening. Someone then suggested that we send cards to folks we'd prayed for, telling them that we'd prayed for them that morning or evening.

I said "no".

It had finally occurred to me why: I don't want people to comforted by the knowledge that someone is praying for them. If there is any comfort, it should come from God's presence. The glory, the thanks, the credit .. they are all, and exclusively, His.

I have heard people say .. for longer than I can remember ... "I can feel your prayers". Frankly, you will never, ever hear me say that. Just think ... the bright promise of Psalm 23 is that His rod and His staff .. which are in His hand .. in other words, His very presence .. comfort me! And someone wants to give credit to somebody else? May it never be.

If you pray for me, thank you. But I won't feel it. If I feel anything, it'll be the presence of Almighty God, and His Eternal Son, Jesus Himself, in the Person and Presence of the Holy Spirit. And He's going to get all the praise I've got.

And all the credit, too.

I wrote a book about me, once. I just wrote everything I could remember, about 6 years ago, about me (mainly so all my memories wouldn't die when I did). I called it "In the Foreword of the Lamb's Book of Life". I'd noticed that I'd never seen research assistants, stenographers, editors, publishers, etc giving themselves credit for publishing books. That was normally done by the authors, in the "Foreword", or "Preface". I'd decided, when I noticed that fact, that I didn't want any credit, or praise, or thanks, for the things I do for Jesus, here on earth. If there's any of that to be had, let it come from the author. The Author of the Book of Life.

That'd be more than enough for me. In the foreword of the Lamb's Book of Life.














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