Last night I attended a prayer meeting at church. Sitting in the familiar green chairs, I smiled at the people around me, a random collection, all aware of their need for God. We worshipped together side by side, then some of them got up to pray at the microphone up front. Timid voices, strong voices, broad shoulders, stooped shoulders, zealous eyes, tired eyes, each prayer adding a stone to the foundation of my faith.
These people have no idea how much they encourage me, I thought. But I notice them. Their presence speaks volumes. Here is a sampling just from tonight. You may be among them.
- The man who always prays with faith and fervency for other people’s kids even though his own grown children have broken his heart.
- The professional woman who could easily find a better-dressed, better-spoken crowd than this, but unashamedly throws in her lot with the people of God.
- The guy who views some of the secondary issues of our doctrine a bit differently, but sets that aside to shout praises to the Savior we all love.
- The couple who’s been around for a thousand years and could probably lead this meeting with their eyes closed, but they’re in the front seats again, postured to learn and listen and cry out for God’s presence.
- The sports nut. Because there’s a huge game on tonight. And he chose this.
- The lady who often sits alone but makes the effort to come.
- The mom with kids in tow who is going through a family crisis but loves to pray in the house of the Lord.
- The guy who walked through the details of the church’s difficult years but still loves the bride of Christ and shares his gifts for the good of the body.
- The young couple who is serving behind soundboards, screens, and laptops every time I walk in.
- The guy with special needs who is pacing around me. Jesus is wild about this guy, and I can’t wait to pray beside him in heaven as well.
That list took me five seconds to write, and I had to force myself to stop because each person’s presence speaks a different message and strikes a different note in the song of the king. There’s no one I’d rather run this race with, especially towards the last stretch that leads us through the open gates of heaven. I felt like we were almost there last night.
It’s funny to think that just being is sometimes enough to encourage someone.
Whose presence at church strengthens you? And who do you strengthen by yours? My guess is that it’s more than you know.