Dropping to his knees the pastor places his head in his hands, “Father, Oh Father, I come before Your throne again thanking You for Your grace and mercy to me through Your Son, Jesus, my Saviour. I don’t know why You have chosen me; You know my heart, please forgive my shortcomings and cleanse my mind and spirit to serve You. Only through You can a true message come. Speak through me Your Words of Life, keep me from getting in the way. Walk with me now Lord and pour out Your blessings on Your lambs.”
Rising, heart thoughts still racing, walks slowly down the hall. A flick of a switch reveals an empty sanctuary soon to hold members and guests for the contemporary service. As is his custom, he stops at the first pew. “Father, I remember George, his loneliness from losing his wife last month, so young and alive, leaving him with two small children. Thank You he is still seeking Your face for direction and comfort. Speak to his heart today dear Lord.” Moving from pew to pew his thoughts turn to the individuals who usually occupy them, lifting them before the Lord, praying for each need as the Lord brings them to mind.
Completing the circuit, he steps up onto the platform and looks out over the silence, envisioning the hurts, joys, friendships, laughter, inner tears, faces young, family faces, lonely faces, faces just born, old faces ready, very ready to see their Saviour’s face, Thank You Lord again for placing me here. Thank You for using me. Oh Father, may I not mess up, work through me, speak through Your servant today. Soften hearts to receive the seeds of life You will be sowing.
Moving back down the aisle he completes a second round of praying by each pew, this time remembering those who sit there during the traditional services. Again a prayer is sent forth for strength and wisdom for His message to reach open ears.
Returning to his study, he opens his Bible again to the text for today, wishing he had had more time to study it, not just mornings and evenings each day going over and over the passages. The remainder of the days being filled with visitations, phone calls, and sharing of others’ life journeys, both good and bad. He starts to review his notes one more time when the sound of the front door opening startles him. Oh good, the elders are starting to arrive. Thank You Lord for this time of prayer with others, how wonderful to come before Your throne with others.
As they are praying behind the closed door, he hears the front door opening again and sends a quick, silent prayer up thanking God for those who come in early for preparation of communion and Sunday Schools.
Prayers continue for the sermon, teachers, greeters, ushers, congregation, the pastor, his family, visitors, those who volunteer time for visitations, maintenance around the church which prompts the pastor to say his own silent prayer, Thank You Father for the faithful who come in and clean the church. How wonderful are their feet and hands. Bless them richly. He reminds himself to thank them again for the great job they do.
The “Amen’s” are said as the sound of greetings and laughter filter through the door, people are arriving. As they rise, each looks into the other’s eyes, particularly the pastor’s, and thoughts clearly pass unsaid between them, it’s in God’s hands now.
The call to worship is given by one of the elders, then greetings to members and guests with an invitation for the guests to “please fill out the card in the pew in front of you.” The choir files in and the congregation is invited to join in as the music director leads in the opening song. As the announcements are given some follow in their bulletins.
All the while the pastor is concentrating on God’s message for today, Father, is this what You want? Is there another message? Lord speak through me. Open hearts.. Move today I pray and keep me out of the way.
“And now, turn to our passage for today as the pastor brings us God’s Word…”
As if moving in a dream, he approaches the pulpit now confident that the Holy Spirit is fully present.
“Before we look at God’s Word please bow with me as we go to the Lord in prayer…”
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