Well, I had an interesting experience today… one I thought you may enjoy reading about… who cares if it is at my expense, right? 😉
It all started with a phone call last night asking me to do the main prayer in church today, I agreed. This is nothing unusual, I have successfully done this many times, I prepared as I normally do… meditating on the needs of the people, how best to effectively pray for them, in a way that will admonish, exhort and uplift.
The moment came…
I was sitting up the front of the congregation, beside our visiting speaker and the Elder for this Sabbath, I knelt to the low set microphone, felt the hard floor beneath my knees, took a single deep breath to get centered and push out all distractions and began to pray, I was no more then a few sentences in when I decided to pray for our preacher… I got out “Father, please bless…” and I drew a blank, I totally forgot his name, only averting disaster by finishing that sentence with something else God could bless..
This was not the end, unfortunately being the determined sort, I tried again but there was a repeat of the last cycle only with the object of blessing changing and much more stuttering, as I recall, this cycle happened a total of four times, at which point I realized my own agile, God given intelligence had been touched by the masters hand, at which time it packed up, turned to mush and had hung a “Back in 10 minutes” sign on my nose, so I said the only thing I could say…
“Yes Lord this is one of those moments that every one having the responsibility of public prayer dreads, when you totally forget the speaker’s name, and have no idea what to say next. but please allow him to speak only your words”
I am sure there was more stuttering in there but that was the basic drift of it, I tried to go on to the other things which I had in mind to pray for but they were nowhere to be found either, I had no other choice but to then bring down the gavel with the word “Amen”
So that was it, I had the initial red-faced feeling, but I quickly chose to laugh it off, Particularly as I realized that God accomplished a few things in this… for a start, if I had delivered an eloquent prayer, it may have tempted me to take the credit so by allowing me this stumble, he has taken a great leap toward teaching me humility (a quality I often admire in others), and secondly the feedback I got was so positive, mostly people thanked me not for delivering an inspiring prayer but for being honest and letting them know they aren’t the only ones to make mistakes, they seemed genuinely encouraged.
So yes, all things work together for the good of those who love God, even things done by faulty instruments like me, I praise God for this Sabbath, my loving Church and the lessons I have learned in the school of Christ.