Last Sunday I only made it halfway through the church service. I completely missed the message – and it was the best church experience I’ve had in a long, long time.
That’s not to imply I didn’t like the speaker (I do) or that his words lacked substance (my bride gave me a recap, so I know it was good), it’s just that I ended up doing something far better.
Unplanned and unexpected, I spent that time in our church’s prayer room. I sat with a stranger as she cried incoherent tears, then listening while she shared her anguish, and finally praying for her and giving her a father’s blessing – one she will not likely receive from her own dad but deeply desires to hear.
The service ended, but our time together didn’t. As most people left, we remained. Thirty minutes after the scheduled end to the official church service, we finally stood to leave, my heart breaking for her, but not nearly as much as our heavenly father’s.
I’m neither counselor or clergy; I lack the training to handle things like this. I had no idea what to do, but the Holy Spirit set all this in motion and then whispered instructions each step of the way. His directions didn’t arrive all at once, but one at a time. Listen, do, and then wait for his next prompt to arrive – at just the right time.
I wonder how often we miss the best church can offer because we’re content to receive something good. Bound by schedule and status quo, we place song and sermon above hurting people who need someone to listen and pray.
I helped someone last Sunday – and that’s what church should be.