Jim was a dark, thin man in his early forties, with a sad countenance. He had attended our church for a few weeks and heard about our Thursday night prayer meetings. We all sat in our usual circle and prayed "safe" prayers. These are the kind of public prayers that don't get to the core of our problems. We conceal the truth out of shame and pain.
But Jim was new to our church. He didn't know the rules. Plus he was in too much pain to worry about the opinions of others. Somewhere in midst of our "safe" prayers, Jim blurted out, "My wife left me and our two kids today! Please pray that she will come back home."
How do you manage a moment like that? I have learned that it is best to allow the Holy Spirit to work. So we got up and gathered around Jim. We laid our hands on him. And with tears flowing down our faces, we prayed for Jim and his family.
A few weeks later, Jim introduced me to his wife and two beautiful kids. After several months I was blessed to baptize both Jim and his wife. Then one Sunday their oldest child came forward and accepted Christ. I didn't know what to do in that prayer circle, so we let the Spirit lead. For me, the essence of being a pastor is allowing my ministry to be more mystery than management.
-Ed Brown, pastor of Skokie Valley Baptist Church, Wilmette, Illinois.
Copyright © 2012 by the author or Christianity Today/Leadership Journal.
Click here for reprint information on Leadership Journal.