I am blessed. Very blessed. I have had the opportunity twice this week to pray together with other people, and in each incident the movement of God’s Spirit was profound, and even though in each case we prayed together about deep and serious matters at the end of the prayer sessions I felt refreshed and as if the burden had been lifted.
The first time was with my covenant group. We meet together monthly to study scripture, discuss a book on ministry issues, to talk about our own journey in ministry and prayer and then we pray for each other and for the Presbytery. The honest sharing, and the love filled prayers are surely a glimpse of the church as it can be.
Then last night at the Presbytery meeting, during announcements, people started asking for prayer about certain individuals and situations. The level of trust was high, painful situations were shared, and as we paused to pray together and as each person lent their voice to the prayer it was as if Jesus himself was there.
I don’t know how to say it any better, the words seem inadequate, but it was as if Jesus himself was there. So often we gather in meetings and it is as one of my friends says, “We pray for Jesus to bless our meetings and then we ask him to wait in the hall until the meeting is over and we ask him back in to bless the decisions we have made.” That wasn’t the experience last night. Jesus was there, not just in the little moments when we acknowledge him, but truly there.
When we come together in love, and treat one another with the respect each deserves as one of God’s children, and are open to the movement of the Holy Spirit, then Jesus is there. Trust is extended. Pain is spoken of. Love is shared. Real concerns are covered in prayer. I am indeed blessed that I have known this in my life, and I am grateful to God for the ways in which he has blessed me through the community of prayer.
It is my prayer, that in the church we will all be open to the Spirit and enjoy the presence of Jesus as we meet together for worship, study, prayer and all those inevitable meetings. May we all be people through whom the love of God flows. Surely this is what God intends his church to be and those glimpses of when we get it right make me hopeful that we can do so more often.