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When God Comes to Church

Is it wrong to pray that God will show up?

It was a warm spring Wednesday night in West Tennessee. Fifty or so of us faithful Southern Baptists were in church for prayer meeting. I was the 20-year-old college intern. It was part of my job to show up for these kinds of things. "Our spring revival starts in just a week and a half," the senior pastor was saying up front. He named the evangelist who would be coming to preach and told some of his credentials. "We sure want people to come to Christ during this series of meetings. In fact, before we start the prayer time, let's make a list of people here on the chalkboard. Who of your relatives and friends and neighbors do you want to mention?"

A middle-aged woman with dark hair near the front raised her hand. "I'm going to invite my neighbor in the next apartment. She's having lots of trouble in her life, I know. She really needs the Lord."

The pastor turned to write Lorene's neighbor on the board.

A man in a denim shirt spoke up next. "We could pray for my brother-in-law to come. He's ...

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