Monday, November 21, 2016

The things I learned in church

I have heard many sermons in my life.  I have learned about Scripture and doctrine and application from God's Word as a result.  Some sermons brought my attention to things I never knew. Others left me longing to know more about this personal God who loves us so much.

But some of the strongest things I remember from my time in church have been from God's people living out the truth.  This morning, as I read this verse, I remembered one such woman, Miss Edith.

The prayer of a righteous man
has great power in its effects.

                          James 5. 16

Back when I was a girl, we went to church on Sunday mornings and again for an evening service.  It was after one such uneventful evening service when I was in junior high school that I was standing with my dad in the vestibule, waiting to leave.  I was anxious to get home as I still had some homework to complete.

Miss Edith came up to my dad and greeted him.  After a few minutes of small talk, this little ancient woman looked up at my tall father and said point blank, "What can I be praying for you?"

"No need," my dad chuckled.

She insisted, not willing to be put off by this man who towered over her. "There is something you are concerned about," she said.

I saw my strong firm father waver just a moment.

"Well," he said, "we moved here six months ago, and our house in New Jersey still hasn't sold.  It is still on the market."

"Have you prayed about it, Bob?"  I can hear her words after all those years.

"That is not anything to bother God about," he replied.

I don't even think she said anything more, but I can remember her eyes twinkling as if to say, "we'll see about that."

She did not preach a three point sermon on the dynamics of prayer.  She just prayed dynamically and expectantly.  She did not just pray about anything. She sought God in everything. She did not present God with a "to do" list of requests.  She lived out a conversational relationship with Him.

Four days later out of a clear blue sky, the house sold.

Nothing is too small in His eyes to pray about,
nothing too big
    for Him to show Himself in it.
When we seek God,
       not just a particular answer,
God opens up the entire universe.
There may be something
         a lot deeper going on.
There most probably is.

God never works in singular outcomes. God did not just sell a house unexpectedly that week. He did not just touch my heart.  God revealed His heart to me.

Praying is not an intangible action
    but the reality of our relationship
with the Almighty God.

Miss Edith's words still resound in my heart:
"Have you prayed about it?"

No comments: