“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.” (Matthew 18:19-20 NRSV)
The request came at Annual Conference in June 2015, asking for help with the Mission Central Capital Campaign. Prayerfully considering where I could help, I completed the form and volunteered, thinking I would fold letters or make telephone calls. In the Fall, I was asked if I would consider helping with Mission Central month for the Harrisburg District. Although I tried to prepare myself for the group meeting in November, nothing could have prepared me for what happened next.
Our small group met for the first time to prayerfully consider how we could offer awareness of the ministries and needs of Mission Central to those in the Harrisburg District. In the midst of the meeting, I received a phone call – my niece had found her husband unresponsive and asked me to meet her at the hospital. I left the meeting, strengthened by the echoes of the group’s prayers for my niece. When I reached the hospital I learned that my nephew, age 45, had suffered a heart attack and died. Later that day, people from the meeting reached out for updates, each one sharing sympathy and unending prayers.
In January, we gathered for a second meeting, which began, not with “business” but with concern for my niece and her family. People were reaching out compassionately to offer comfort. For our Mission Central Month we planned a “Prayer Walk of Love”. The prayer walk would move through both the Grantville HUB and the Mechanicsburg warehouse. The walk was held on Saturday, February 13 —-the coldest day of 2016, with gusty wind chills and sub-zero temperatures. This did not deter those gathering to lift prayers for the ministries and mission of Mission Central.
As we walked through the HUB, we could see Christ in the various ministries sharing space in Grantville. The Mechanicsburg walk was a “visit” to each ministry area inside the warehouse. God-moment stories were shared as prayerful hands were placed on the items. As I touched each item, I could visualize the donor hand, the volunteer hand and the hand of the recipient. The walk attendance may have been small, but the emotional attendance was rich–full of willing, caring hands as well as God’s hand!
Never believe that bigger is better! That small group of strangers made a difference by reaching out to my family in November. That small group that joined in a prayer walk on one cold day in February made a difference, as the hands and feet of Jesus Christ.
PRAYER: God of life and of death, we are humbled by Your presence in our lives. Thank you for the privilege of communicating with You through our prayers of care and concern for one another and for all your children. Help us always and at all times to be fervent and faithful in our prayers, and in our service to You and others. AMEN.
(Therese Finney, Grace UMC, Mechanicsburg, Certified Ministerial Candidate in the Susquehanna Conference)
April 6, 2016 It All Begins With Prayer (downloadable .pdf)