Someone ministered to me tonight at a worship service in Queens.
When you’re a preacher kind of person it can sometimes be difficult to receive ministry from others. It’s not like you don’t want to ask for it or that you’re even hesitant to seek it. Rather, it’s just that the opportunity doesn’t present itself that often. I guess you have to be deliberately looking for it and chase it down when you spot it, or you need to be obedient if you feel the Lord leading you to reach out to another brother or sister for ministry. It could also happen, however, that the Lord will send someone to give you a gentle nudge. That was my experience tonight.
Our high school mission team had the privilege of attending a worship and prayer service tonight at our host church: First Presbyterian Church, Jamaica, Queens. As the service opened with praise and worship our group stood and participated as best we could. We didn’t know all of the songs, but we gave it our best shot and were happy to be sharing this time with members and guests of the church serving as our home for the week.
After a few songs, however, the service shifted to a time of prayer. During this time the congregation was encouraged to get in pairs and pray for one another. My eyes looked across the aisle AWAY from my group and met the eyes of a retired age lady, and I knew this was who I would share the time with. I shared with her a couple of things that she could pray for me - specifically for my family (and me, I suppose) as I am really missing Kelley and Carver as we near the end of the summer. I also asked her to pray for our students; I want them to experience giving something back, but not in the name of “good deeds.” No - I want them to be sharing their energy, resources, and time for the sake of and cause of Christ. She reciprocated with some things that I could pray for her. It was a very moving time for me…but that’s not “really” where the ministry happened.
After the prayer time we moved into the teaching time and heard a message from a lay minister. She offered insight as to how one might find inner peace in this life. She declared that the peace we are all looking for is the peace that passes all understanding and comes only from Jesus Christ. It was a thoughtful, insightful, and biblical message. I very much enjoyed the content and her passion for Christ as well as her presentation.
As we moved into the altar call (their term, not mine), they offered a time for receiving prayer if anyone was interested. I watched a lady walk up to the altar; she was anointed and prayed over by the minister serving the congregation. Then she (the one who had just received prayer) stepped to the side to receive people as well. As that happened, I was struck for a moment that I might wish to have one of these women pray for me. I wasn’t particularly stressed, and I didn’t have this burning “something" inside of me just begging for relief. I just felt a nudge from the Holy Spirit and wanted to be prayed for.
As I was rolling a ton of reasons through my mind about why I really shouldn’t go to the altar, the sweet lady who prayed for me earlier stepped into the aisle, turned around to me, and motioned me to come with her. I immediately stepped out and took her hands as she said to me, “Let’s go pray.". She led me to the altar and made a hand-off (pun intended) to one of the ministers. This sweet lay minister held me and prayed a beautiful prayer over me. I hugged her, thanked her, and made my way back to my seat. It was not earth shattering. It wasn’t hyper emotional. I absolutely did not feel the earth shake under me. But it was monumental to me; both of these ladies had ministered to me selflessly and with great passion.
I found myself thinking later about the exchanges I had with them. We have different backgrounds. We do not live in the same part of the country. We do not have the same (presumably) socio-economic standing. We are not the same color. We are not the same religious denomination. But we do share a belief that Jesus Christ is King. We share an utter dependence on Him and Him alone. We worshipped Him tonight - together, and we did so as one body and one voice. That doesn’t shake the earth, per se, but it shakes my heart and spirit in profound ways. I was thankful that someone ministered to me tonight at a worship service in Queens.