Every now and again, no more frequently than that, God makes little things happen that help ministry feel sustainable. He sends encouragements that take me out of my despondency and stop me from wallowing in self pity! I thought it’d be a good thing to mention them when they happen. And so I’m hoping that this becomes a regular feature. If they don’t then the odds are that I’ve quit and gone back to being a pool lifeguard (the only professional qualification I’ve ever had)!
We had a half night of prayer last Wednesday. It started at six and finished at midnight. We operated in hour long slots and made sure that there was variety from one hour to the next so that it didn’t become routine. The intention was that people would be able to come for an hour or two and pray in preparation for our forthcoming mission, which starts this week.
Regrettably, many of the church used the opportunity of the half night of pray to either take the night off or to use the time for other things. Not everyone, because some stalwarts came and prayed for four or five hours with the staff. And one couple took it in turns to be at home looking after their son so that they could both participate. Those sorts of things are priceless. But many of the regulars ended up coming for less time than they would otherwise do on a Wednesday night for small group. I guess they thought that they’d actually prayed for more time than they would usually do. We usually pray for 10-15 minutes in a small group session. But on this occasion we deliberately planned to pray for longer. And teh truth is that they did. I just thought we’d push the boat out and do that little bit extra by staying for two hours.
I was feeling a little deflated then when at eleven o’clock (when most people had sensibly gone home to bed) two young men walked through the door. They’d come straight from work. I cannot tell you how much that lifted my spirits. I’d been in a bit of a grump up until that stage. I’d kept it hidden, no one would have known. But the sight of these two men pitching up to pray was a massive encouragement. Humanly speaking what they were doing was not impossible. But it was unlikely. They’d just worked a full day. They needed to get home for some sleep. And yet they pitched up to pray. That’s a work of God in their lives. And I rejoiced. I kept it hidden. Again no one would have known. But inside I was whooping with delight because of the goodness of God. And that’s helped me get over the more disappointing aspects of thatterrific evening.