A church barbecue offers the opportunity to ask God to provide relief for others.
Posted in , Sep 19, 2017
I was working behind the table at the church barbecue last Sunday, dishing out tomatoes and onions to go on people’s burgers. It was a beautiful day, and it was great to be outside with the kids running around on the playground and smoke rising from the grill.
But I noticed that Elizabeth who dishing out greens next to me was wincing in pain and had to sit to do her chore.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
As we both worked, she answered. Her knees were in a lot of pain, her back too. She’d suffered almost all her life from sciatica. Ouch, I thought. But the next thought I had was not really the most comfortable one. I should pray for her.
I could give myself plenty of arguments against the idea. We’d finished our worship service. We’d done plenty of praying already. And I was no expert. I’d taken a class in church on healing prayer and we were encouraged to do it during the service, but me a healer? Hardly.
Then I remembered something that was really helpful about that class. Leigh, who did the training, made the very crucial point: It’s not us who heals. It’s God.
With that humbling thought in mind, I asked Elizabeth if she would mind if I prayed for her. She gave me a wide welcoming smile. “Please,” she said.
When there was a break in folks looking for tomatoes and onions or greens, I knelt down, put my hands on her shoulders, closed my eyes and asked God to be with her, give her some relief from the pain and make it easier for her to stand and walk.
“Thank you,” she said.
“I hope this week is much better for you. And whatever happens it won’t be thanks to me. It’ll be thanks to …” And I pointed my finger up to the clear blue sky.
“I know that,” she said. “When I was born they didn’t think I would be able to walk at all. And look at me.” She raised her cane. “I can get around well.”
“Amen to that,” I said. “Thanks be to God.”