I am fortunate to be able to be in a work environment where I am surrounded by believers. At times I almost feel guilty because of my little insulated cave that keeps me from the outside world. It then becomes my responsibility to find opportunities to reach into the lives of others outside my workplace. My morning prayer includes the request to God to make me aware of the needs of others around me, and to give me wisdom as to how I can respond in a Jesus-way.
This past summer, George and I were invited to join an extended family for a weekend of camping. We didn’t know many of the people there, but by the end of the weekend, we felt very much at home and included in the family circle.
The gathering of people through the course of the weekend changed depending on the activity. At one of the more formal meals after the ash interment of a family member, I was asked at the last moment, if I would pray the blessing. My prayer was simple, thanking God for the life of the individual, and the impact that he had on the group present, and giving thanks for the food and friends with whom we could share the time.
The following day, again the request was for me to pray the blessing before the meal. Again, a similar prayer, acknowledging God and His goodness, asking for His hand to be over each of us.
After each meal, a few people expressed their appreciation for the words and prayers that were said. One individual indicated, “I needed to hear that today”.
One of the young women and I struck up a conversation. She asked a very direct and honest question: how do you find life at your age? How have you changed over the years? Does it get any easier? We laughed about some things, we pointed out some observations and exchanged little stories. Then I responded by telling her that I had confidence in God, and that I could talk to Him about anything, and I could see His hand around me. Her eyes lit up as she told me that she prayed every day, asking God to help her make good decisions, and to be a good mom. I encouraged her to keep on praying, keep talking to God and keep watching for the way He would move in her life and circumstances. Our conversation was interrupted, but it was one of those moments where I knew God was very present.
I was humbled to be used as God’s representative in that setting – where we were the guests.
Over the years, I have heard students from Steinbach Bible College state that one of the professors encouraged them “be ready to preach, pray or die”. I did some fact checking, and emailed Prof. Harvey Plett and asked if he had really said that to his students. His response to me “Yes Lil, I used that statement to encourage the students to be ready for anything any time. I do not claim originality for the statement but it is an encouragement to be faithful whether in easy or difficult circumstance.”
Being faithful in all things – being ready to preach, pray or die – is part of knowing God and making Him known. This time I was called to pray.