I like to think of myself as a full service preacher.
I like to preach and nobody has fallen asleep since that time when I got everybody to quietly just leave their shoes and jackets on their seats. We all snuck in the back room and blew a trumpet really loud. Poor guy! Thought he missed the rapture!
Okay, I didn’t do that but if anybody actually does fall asleep…
Sometimes I can get pretty happy in my role. You know I start feeling good and confident. And then someone says it’s prayer time.
I can prayer with the best of them. For about five minutes. The other day I was invited to an intercessory prayer meeting. For those of you who don’t know, this is not for the faint of heart or the simple-minded.
This is the equivalent of being asked to try out for your favorite professional sports team!
My wife, Stella, and I head out to the meeting. I entered the room with confidence. After all not only was I a preacher, but I was also leader of a dynamic and focused prayer team. An evening of prayer was right up my alley. What could go wrong?
After some good-natured chatter we settled in our chairs. The leader of the night stands up and gave an introduction on intercessory prayer. Basically intercessory prayer is when you intercede on behalf of someone or some area by bringing their needs to God. Nothing out of the ordinary for Christians right?
And then we started to pray. We prayed for healing over the neighborhood. I like my neighborhood and I like God, so I started talking with him.
This went on for a long time or five minutes whichever came first. I’ve said what I wanted to say. I imagined God saying thank you and I sat up and looked around. People were still praying!
“Okay, let’s give it another go.” I mutter to myself.
“That’s the spirit!” God is always enthusiastic when I pray.
All around me I hear muted prayers and my mind wondered to the hockey game.
Resisting the urge to check my phone for updates I refocus. But not on the prayers. Nope, now I see the table with coffee and cookies on it. So while everybody else was praying for healing and casting out unclean spirits, I am devising a plan on getting coffee and cookie in a holy way or at least without being caught. After all, a preacher ought to be the most likely of all to pray!
The leader asked if everyone is now finished. I nodded my head. My wife, who always has my back, shook her head. Several others did as well, so back we all went. Man this praying was intense.
“Don’t think about those cookies. You don’t need a coffee. Just pray.” That’s like my pre-game pep talk. Like the warrior I am I went for it and prayed like crazy for healing from everything under the sun. Cancer took about thirty seconds. Addictions; about a minute. And so it went. I felt better. The job was definitely done that time. Thank you God!
After an eternity of deep and focused prayer I once again raised my head. Surely I outlasted even the leaders of this meeting. Nope. Even the young ones were still going at it!
Good grief, I thought. This time I am getting some cookies. But before I could quietly slip out of my chair some little girl escaped from the kids’ room and grabbed the whole lot and scurried back out.
Great! Now I’m going to get blamed for something I didn’t even do! And they’re still praying!
Finally the prayers stopped. I was exhausted!
I tell you intercessory prayer people are the most loving and dedicated people I ever met. Man they can sure pray! So if you ever think you want try the big leagues of Christianity, get yourself to one of their meetings. Just don’t pay any attention to the cookies!
Andy Becker is lead of Lighthouse Ministries which brings God’s love and presence to the North Central area of Regina, Canada. He is a writer and public speaker, a retired counselor, and former Executive Director of Langley Hospice. His book, The Travelers, is a fictional account of spiritual warfare and the roles angels and demons play in our everyday lives.