When I pray, I walk most times. By now I'm surprised there aren't holes where I have worn a path going around and around and around in the Celebration Church sanctuary. Sometimes, it's so hard to keep my focus. I have prayer lists and needs in front of me, but other concerns try so hard to pull me away from prayer. Some people might think I pray out loud and strong just because I was raised Pentecostal. Well, that might be part of it but one reason is simply to keep focused!
As I'm walking around praying, my eyes notice things that are broken. I see repairs that need to be made. Other things that need to be adjusted and tweaked. I've shut my eyes to walk around and pray, but after all the bruising, decided to stop. Just kidding.
A few weeks ago I was walking around the sanctuary in a time of prayer and I noticed some important things that needed to be taken care of. I don't know how to do them. Even in our congregation of many capable people, among them licensed contractors, I wasn't aware of anybody who could handle these specialized problems. I became concerned, even to the point of worrying myself sick about getting some things taken care of -- and felt powerless to do anything about it.
In a few days Larry and I would be leaving on a getaway -- just us without the kids -- and I was looking forward to it. But so many times, concerns I leave behind stay on my mind.
As a pastor this stuff is always, always, always with you. You try to put it out of your mind when you go away but it's hard. Many of my vacations have been spent silently pouring over and praying about concerns back home.
As I wore out the carpet that day in prayer, I felt God speak to me as I gave him my concerns down to the last detail about all these things. In my spirit I distinctly heard him say, "I've got this. Now will you please promise me that you're going to go away this week with your husband and enjoy your time and not think about this?"
"Yes," I said.
And I made good on my promise.
We went away and had an amazing time. And I left all the problems at the altar where I had poured them out.
We arrived home late Saturday night. I had not said a word to anyone about my prayers, not even my husband.
My first time to consider the problems again was Sunday morning when we arrived. We had church and all the same problems were still there, right where I left them. At the conclusion of the service I had just finished greeting visitors when a man named Randy Ross who has been at our church for about a year, is extremely quiet and shy and has only ever said "hi" and "bye" to me in the past, came to talk to me.
"Pastor Deanna, can I see you for a moment?" he quietly said.
"Yes, of course," I replied.
"I wanted to bring some things to your attention I'm not sure you're aware of," he said.
"Okay," I said, having no idea what was coming next, but I'll be honest, I held my breath. Usually when people start out with that sentence and you're a pastor, it's not a good thing.
"There are some issues with the facilities I'm not sure you've noticed..." he said. And with that he proceeded to take me around the building and point out to me every single thing I had taken to the Lord in prayer.
When he was done pointing all this out he said, "Pastor Deanna, what you may also not be aware of is, I have seven years of experience fixing these exact problems. I am specially trained in this, and all I need from you and Pastor Larry is the authority to fix these issues, all of which I will do as a volunteer, to bless the church. I am asking this morning if you will simply give me the go ahead to fix all these problems."
"YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! How soon can you start?" was my only question.
All this after I restrained myself from doing the happy dance around the sanctuary. (That came later.)
Friends, I share this testimony with you today because I know some of you have problems that you don't know how in the world will work themselves out. You have no idea where the miracle is coming from. Things are out of your control. You don't have the know how to fix some things whether they be facilities problems, relational problems, money problems, etc.
But God has the answer. Trust Him. Take your concerns to the altar and leave them there!