Over the past few days, pastors, rostered leaders, bishops, and some lay leaders came together for an annual conference regularly scheduled. Together we enjoy time to rest, reflect, talk, worship, and work. Our evening worship yesterday included an opportunity for prayer with anointing and laying on of hands. Serving as one of the prayer ministers is one of the very sacred times of ministry that I have experienced.
I remember many of their names, the feel of their hands as I touched and asked them if there was something specific they would like prayers of healing for, the smoothness of the oil on my thumb and the various textures of the skin on their foreheads.
I remember the pain in some of their voices as they raised a specific need, the weariness in others where there was only a need for stamina and strength of spirit. I remember some of their eyes – those who met mine, and I remember those who did not for reasons that are all their own.
There is that moment when one approaches for prayer and the one offering prayer asks if there is a specific need. In that split second, one decides whether to speak of that which is heaviest on their heart and spirit. This is an intersection of fear and hope that PB Mark had been describing over our days together -- that place where we risk personal vulnerability because of our trust in the one with us and our hope that in this time of prayer and anointing, God will do what God promises – that he will bind up the broken-hearted, give release to the captive and the opening of the prison to those who are bound.
And most amazingly, in this time of prayer with each of these, I am humbled to realize that their expression of their need gave silent voice to my own. I was not only praying for them, but in our time together we were praying with each other.