Wesleyan Accent ~ In Their Words: How Pastors Pray for Their Children (And Raise Them in the Church)
“She grew up knowing the language of prayer, and feeling comfortable with prayer.”
The man’s gaze dropped. Hesitantly, he spoke.
“We are from Iraq.”
One month ago, an American couple herded three children into a men’s room in the Istanbul, Turkey airport. The wife visibly pregnant, they settled in for the night and texted to family members in the U.S., letting them know that their flight was being delayed indefinitely – keeping some of the details to themselves. All night the parents kept vigil as the children miraculously slept through the sound of explosions, reports of shooting, sonic booms from low-flying fighter jets and men coming in with blood-spattered clothing to wash their faces and hands for their ritual Muslim prayer time.
I’m going to call Martha’s the honest approach. She doesn’t stand back and say things like, “Well you must have needed another angel.” Or “It must have been your will.” She looks him right in the eye and tells him exactly what she is thinking. “You let me down. You did not do what I asked you to do. You could have stopped this from happening.” And the thing she doesn’t say but is clearly communicating is “I thought you loved us.”
I’m guessing that the disciples and other people around Jesus all sucked their breath in and waited for the wrath that was surely about to fall on Martha’s head. You can’t talk that way to God… can you?
Today, we all have gifts that seem so small with all the needs around. Offer them anyway.
Repetition does not have to imply boredom or meaninglessness – though advertisers attempt to convince us otherwise. The rhythm of seasons is a necessary beauty, like the measured count behind your favorite music.
When I walk him to school, and remember the proper procedure, I ask him to teach me their prayers. It changes frequently, alighting upon virtues and visions, my wife’s butterfly spirituality passing down to our son. As he teaches me their prayer, a common refrain rolls across his lips, “Lord, help me be bold and courageous.”
God’s Kingdom has the power to turn everything right-side up.
I’m proud to declare that the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church is my church. It’s my church of birth, it’s my church of choice, and it’s the church I love. It is known by many as “The Freedom Church,” and this I do not take lightly. Yet, while no church can ever claim to be perfect, the church must at least strive to be true. By God’s grace the “Old Ship of Zion” has traversed many dangerous and sometimes tumultuous waters since it first set sail in 1796 from the harbor of the John Street Methodist Church in New York City. We gathered and praised God for the safe arrival at the port of the 50th Session of the General Conference.
Singer, violinist, evangelist and Order of the Flame 2016 speaker Jean Watson reflects on emptiness as a blessing.