Radiant, Table Group Prayer Leader
Read God’s Word
New Living Translation (NLT)
14 Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven.
16 Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results. 17 Elijah was as human as we are, and yet when he prayed earnestly that no rain would fall, none fell for three and a half years! 18 Then, when he prayed again, the sky sent down rain and the earth began to yield its crops.
Restore Wandering Believers
19 My dear brothers and sisters, if someone among you wanders away from the truth and is brought back, 20 you can be sure that whoever brings the sinner back will save that person from death and bring about the forgiveness of many sins.
Reflect and Respond
As some of you probably know, writing this is a bit challenging for me. I’m a goofball. I giggle at inappropriate things. Solemnity is not my strong suit. I’m going to do my best though, so that I might convey my story of heartfelt love and adoration for Jesus—who has pulled me out of the gutter, scraped off some of the muck, and handed me over to you folks to deal with.
I wasn’t raised in church. I had no Abraham in my childhood. As a senior in high school, I got pregnant with twins and married my high school sweetheart. None of this destroyed anyone’s dreams for my future, or really even disappointed my family. Nobody really had any plans for me other than God. All throughout school I was in gifted and talented, advanced, honors, and whatever classes. At school I was told I was part of the ‘cream of the crop’ etc. I never once believed any of that. Nobody from my family ever even looked at my report cards after I stopped losing my baby teeth. I did attend church with a friend once. The most memorable thing about that experience was that they took up an offering for a VCR for the youth department. We didn’t have a VCR at home, so I thought it was mean that they wanted to take my money to buy one for the church. (Man, this story is turning out to be a real bummer. Trust me, it eventually gets better.)
Like me, the boy I married brought plenty of baggage of his own into our marriage. Other than the kids, the best thing he ever gave me was his older sister. She is what I now refer to as a ‘Catholic Baptist.’ It confounded me that this seemingly intelligent person would spend her time attending bible studies, listening to Christian music, and telling me that she would pray for me. I am fairly certain that through her intercession God ultimately saved me.
When my twin sons were two, they were diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. A few years later, we had another son. Shortly after he was born, my marriage fell apart. My ex-husband stopped working, and started using heroin (along with any other drug he could get his hands on.) I had never even seen heroin in person. I had no idea what to do. I was 25, with three kids, no education or marketable skills—and now I was alone. Meanwhile my sister-in-law continued praying. She never showed up on my doorstep with pamphlets or tried to bully me into realizing that God was there. In her graceful wisdom, she just kept on praying.
Near the end of my marriage, we signed the twins up for Cub Scouts at a small United Methodist church. When our Cub Scout pack attended activities (like Scout Sunday etc.) with the church members, my opinion of Christians started to change. They went out of their way to make me feel loved and welcomed. I began attending Sunday school with a few of the other Cub Scout leaders, and things began clicking for me. One day my bible study leader (who is now my husband) loaned me the book Mere Christianity, by C.S. Lewis. That’s when the penny dropped. When I finished the book, Christianity seemed plausible for the first time. I started inhaling C.S. Lewis books like they were pecan fudge brownies.
Fast forward eleven years, I’m now 36, my twin Eagle Scouts are away at college. They volunteer in the community, and play in the praise and worship band at Brenham UMC. My baby is twelve and a big junior high man at McCullough Jr. High. For fun, my former Sunday school teacher/husband and I now regularly geek out on the bible, C.S. Lewis, Tim Keller, Søren Kierkegaard, and Dietrich Bonhoffer. I have a huge vegetable garden, and I love making jams and pickles. I still have a whole lifetime of spiritual development ahead of me, however looking back over the past decade, it is undeniable that God’s fingerprints are all over my life. The best part is that I know my ex-sister-in-law is still praying for me, now I just pray right back at her.
The message I desperately want to convey is: never give up on that family member you are praying for today. God is working on them. On behalf of all of those people in our lives who are struggling and broken, thank you.
Read Matthew 8:5-13 and Luke 7:1-10
What does the Centurion ask Jesus to do for his servant?
What does Jesus say about the faith of the Centurion, and what does he do?
This interaction between Jesus and the Centurion shows that it pleases Jesus when we put our faith in His authority to work in the lives of people we care for. It tells us that it isn’t through our works, but through total faith and trust in Him that he will bless people through our intercession.
Have you ever felt it was futile to continue to pray for someone who seemed like they weren’t receptive to God’s blessings?
Do you remember a moment when Christianity really started to seem plausible to you?
Is there someone whom you think may have interceded on your behalf and perhaps changed the course of your life?
Was there a particular book or scripture that opened the door to your understanding of God’s truth?
Do you personally make an effort to make visitors feel welcome and accepted in church?
Pray About It
Thank you for blessing our lives with people who care for us enough to ask for help on our behalf. Please guide us to those who may need our help, and continue to help those we have already lifted up to you. Amen