Our international church headquarters, UPCI, has an annual program that kicks off the New Year with 30 days of prayer and fasting. This past Wednesday night, we had prayer instead of the usual Bible study. Just when I thought I was going to get some good snapshots, the camera battery died after only three pics. Anyway, back to the story. The service began with a praise chorus and a spirit of worship moved into the sanctuary. Following the song, we began to pray collectively. There was a time of prayer for the youth, single adults, and married couples praying for each other. At one point, several of the small children went to the platform and sat on the choir steps waiting for the children's minister to pray for them. Some of the young boys huddled in prayer and little girls joined hands in prayer. They were all so sincere in their prayer and I wanted to share the few pics I was able to get. Although the children touched my heart, it was another part of the service that really got to me. During our time of prayer, my husband said he has always wanted our church to be an honest church. If we are struggling or feeling weak, don't hide it with an "I'm okay." Be honest enough to admit I am going through a rough time. My husband then asked, "If you are willing to disclose you have had a rough time praying or a season of struggle, please come to the front and we will have the ministry team pray for you." The first person to step forward was an elderly man that has been a saint for decades. As a child, I used to spend Sunday afternoons playing with my dear friend who is the daughter of this gentle, sweet man. Now some people were surprised to think this man could in any way be weak because they view him as a pillar in the congregation, yet he wanted a fresh touch from the Lord. As the ministry team prayed for him, he began to worship and you could literally see the joy of Jesus sweep over him. It was so beautiful and so touching. Of course, this began a flood of people hungering for a fresh touch. I somehow believe God used this man's honesty to encourage everyone. I know I was deeply moved. My heart was overwhelmed to see so many tears on faces from the very young to the old. We concluded with the old chorus that goes like this -
Jesus is the sweetest name I know,
and He's just the same as His lovely name,
that's the reason why I love him so,
for Jesus is the sweetest name I know.
I hope you have a blessed time when you attend your next church service.