This month’s issue of b-metro magazine (a Birmingham-based publication) features an article written by yours truly titled My Seed of Hope, and it’s all about the prayer room that we opened in our salon a few months ago.
A couple of thoughts before I share what’s on my heart today…
I’m grateful to the decision makers at b-metro not only for inviting me to write the article for them, but for actually including it in their publication. Many publishers shy away from matters of faith, especially ones that aren’t so subtle in content or openness. These people put into print exactly what I had written, with no exceptions, and I found that to be quite remarkable. Yeah, I know that we’re in the Bible belt, and because of that, many think that it’s easier to “get away” with a topic as controversial as God and prayer. That may indeed be true, but I have a feeling that this one year old magazine may lose a few readers because of the nature of the article.
Secondly, it is my prayer and my hope that My Seed of Hope will serve as a reminder for others that prayers are helpful, that they’re needed, and that they’re answered. What’s more, I’m hoping that the article will serve notice to other business owners that there is indeed room for faith (yes, even bold faith) and success in the marketplace.
Back to the prayer room…
With the exception of one week, a post has been made on this site every week since The Seed of Hope was launched on October 31, 2008. That “one” was the week of October 12, 2010; just a couple of months ago.
Yes, I had a good topic. As a matter of fact, I knew what I was gonna write about before I had finished the previous week’s post, which was quite remarkable. You see, sometimes God doesn’t lay an idea on my heart until the very last minute (which at times has proven to be very frustrating). The topic was The Seed of Hope room, the prayer room that I’m sitting in at this moment.
Yes, I had plenty of opportunities to write. Some weeks, for a variety of reasons, finding the time to write has been a challenge. During that particular week, it was as if the Red Sea had parted! Our schedule was such that there were several instances when I could have opened this laptop and began writing.
Yes, I had the desire to write. If you’re a regular “visitor” you know that I love sharing my life as a Christian with you. Not because it’s about me, but because we’re told to share the good news about God and His goodness with others; to be a light that shines for all to see.
Yet I never wrote the post. Why not?
Well, along with the topic, and the opportunity, and the desire, I had a lot of pain. Funny that it wasn’t my pain, but the pain of others, which had me hurting…
There have been a lot of visitors in this prayer room since we opened it in our salon this past May. And to tell you the truth, I wasn’t ready for them.
I’m reminded of the scene from Field of Dreams when Ray Kinsella (Kevin Costner) hears that voice saying, “If you build it, they will come.”
We built it. They came.
Don’t get me wrong; people aren’t lined up out the door and around the building trying to get in this room. But for me to have two or three opportunities each day to listen to what’s on people’s hearts and to pray for them is a blessing that has been at times a bit overwhelming for me, and especially so when we first opened the room.
Since it was built, and even before it was finished, I referred to this as being a prayer room. Well, it is indeed for prayer, and there have been many prayers offered in this room during the past seven months.
I think, for lack of a better word, we could have called this our share room.
There’s something that’s almost magical about this prayer room. People from all walks of life, including people that I’ve known for years and people that I’ve never met sit in this room and for whatever reason (I believe that it’s God’s presence), share whatever it is that’s troubling them; with me.
You see, I’m not a psychologist, or psychiatrist, or licensed counselor. I wasn’t trained to listen to the problems of others without taking them on myself. I didn’t know how to listen to the hurt on people’s hearts without hurting, or watching them cry without crying, or feeling despair and anguish and frustration without feeling it myself. I found myself asking, “How do trained professionals do this? How do they sit and listen all day long without sinking? Do they disconnect themselves from feeling anything? Do they just get used to it?”
And therein was the problem. I don’t want to disconnect; it’s not who I am. I believe that my purpose in this prayer is to listen to the hearts of others and to allow them to dump their “baggage”; even if it gets dumped on me. And I get to watch God work in the hearts and minds of those willing to let go. It’s quite amazing, and very, very, humbling.
When we’re through talking, I’ll offer to say a prayer for them, and if they’re receptive to the idea, that’s exactly what I do.
Afterwards, when I’m alone, I take a few moments in prayer asking the Lord to take their pain off of my heart. My friend Brooke suggested that I do this every time I’m in the prayer room with someone, and it has really helped.
All of this brings me to the original thought behind today’s message, which is about being…
Why is it that we think that we have to carry our crosses, and bear our burdens, and solve our problems, by ourselves? Is it pride that stands in our way? Do we think that we have problems that no one else has had? Do we consider confiding in a friend or family member as a sign of weakness? Why do we let ourselves reach a point of desperation or of being despondent before we’re willing to reach out for help?
Since this is a faith-based site, do you think that I’m just talking about and to people who don’t know God?
God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is our Provider, and our Protector, and our Comforter. He is everything. He is the way, and the truth, and the life. He is, really, all that we need, isn’t He?
I believe that part of God’s provision for us is putting people in our lives to help us in our walk. Oh sure, He can get us through anything and everything by Himself, but there’s something to said about sharing our problems with others. Perhaps sharing adds a dose of humility to our lives. Perhaps there’s a certain strength in knowing that we’re not the only ones with problems, and that our problems aren’t unique. Perhaps the person that we share a problem with has a solution or remedy that will help heal the wounds.
Perhaps God wants us to turn to others because when we do, we come to see that His presence is in all of us.
Turn to God with all of your needs. Turn to others in time of need.
You never have to be alone.