Monday, November 14, 2011

Coming Out For Prayer

In my opinion it's unfortunate that we immediately think of people being honest about sexual preferences when we use the expression "come out" or "come out of the closet."  It's unfortunate because there are so many things that we keep hidden in polite company., and, sadly, many times we treat Christian community as a sort of "polite society" where we pretend that things we "consider to be unpleasant do not exist." 

Too often we remain closeted, thinking that, perhaps, others we go to church with are doing a lot better than we ourselves.  Betsy Simons of Treehouse spoke of this sort of thing during her educational hour presentation at Crossroads yesterday, saying that Christians can think that once they accept Christ that all their issues should just go away.  But they don't go away.  Instead, people often keep them hidden.  And when they are hidden, they rob us of love, joy and peace, making us less effective disciples of Jesus Christ.  Hidden things become a "log" in our eye, making us critical and sour, keeping us from compassionately ministering to others in Jesus' name.

I'm thinking of this as I continue in thankful prayer for who stood up and/or came forward for prayer at the conclusion of my sermon yesterday.  One person asked us to pray for her as she is dealing with anger.  Someone else spoke of his concern for a sister who is a Jehovah's Witness.  Then four women came forward without saying anything.  I had encouraged everyone to consider coming forward at that point, having clearly stated that nothing needed to be said in public.  But I did say, several times, that it would be important for those in need of prayer to not just keep their concerns between them and God.  I encouraged them to let someone else know what their concern was, so they could be prayed for and prayed with in person, specifically addressing their needs.

I was a bit surprised that only these six came forward.  I thought there might be more.  It could be that I didn't do a good job of inviting, and it could be that it was just too big a change for some.  That's okay.  No one needs to come forward at church.  My ongoing prayer, however, is that no one keeps closeted with their needs, that we would all come out to someone else who can pray for us.  As it says in one of my favorite Bible promises: "Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them" (the words of Jesus as we read them yesterday from Matthew 18).

If you're still in hiding with a big issue, please, in Jesus' name, come out!  Speak with someone you trust and ask them to pray and help you find whatever practical help you may need.  Feel free to ask me or anyone else, or, if you want, come to Crossroads on Wednesday at 6:30... compassionate prayer warriors will be there for you.

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