I have always been told that there is a clear way to tell whether a person needs encouragement. If they are breathing. My wife and I recently visited with a young couple that needed a little encouragement in life and in their ministry. This is one of the joys that my wife and I get to share together as we are able to use what God has done in our lives, marriage and ministry to try and help others. I remember people like Cecil Bond, who taught my junior high Bible study group. He invested his time and love into a group of teenage boys. His investment and encouragement have stayed with me to this very day. I also remember Sonny and Carolyn Peevy, a retired pastor and his wife who lovingly encouraged me to go to seminary as part of God’s equipping for my life and ministry. I will never forget Sam and Jean Self, a pastor and his wife who treated me like their son and helped me to grow as a young minister.
I could list countless numbers of persons who have been used by God to pour into my life with wisdom and encouragement over the years. I have been that person who felt confused about the choices in life that lie before me. My wife and I have been that couple that needed wisdom for the decisions we faced as spouses, parents and pastor and wife. Without fail, God has always had someone in my life to be that source of needed encouragement.
So, as my wife and I sat across the lunch table from this young couple our hearts were tender to their situation, because we had been right where they were at that moment. We could empathize. As much as we wanted to fix it, we knew that was not our job. Only God could provide them with the grace they needed for the season of life they were living. But we did know we could be a source of God’s encouragement for them. As the visit and conversation came to a close that day, I asked the young couple a simple question. How can we be praying for you? I was not prepared for what came next. I was expecting a laundry list of prayer requests. But there was nothing but silence and tears. The husband looked at me and said, “We have never had so many people ask us how they can pray for us as we have in the past few weeks. People don’t normally ask how they can pray for us.” His words pierced my heart. I was the very person he was talking about.
I have been guilty of not caring enough all of the time to ask people how I can be praying for them. People definitely need encouragement when life gets difficult. But they also need it in the good times to strengthen their resolve to stay faithful. Sometimes we just need to know that there is someone who cares and is available if we need them. So, my church and I want to pledge to you, our neighbors and friends, to be a source of encouragement and help. We want to pray for you anytime and all the time. We would love the opportunity to meet you and get to know you personally. We would love to hear about how we can pray for you. Feel free to contact us at http://centennialbaptist.org/contact-us. These requests will come directly to our staff and we will be honored to pray for you each week. Thank you for letting us be your neighbor and friend!