At the end of our recent weekly Couples’ Workshop, the facilitator experienced the urging of the Holy Spirit. “Now we,” she said, pointing to her three coworkers, “are going to different locations within the office to wait for you. If you wish, please come to us so that we may pray for your marriage.” All twelve couples remained in the office after the end of the workshop so that they might receive prayer.
A young single woman came to us nearly two years ago for healthcare and discovered she was pregnant. Distraught, her life as she had planned it now in turmoil, she responded to the news by asking where she could receive an abortion. We answered, “Before we talk about that, let’s pray.” When this woman visits our office today, her toddler son in tow, she always thanks us for those moments of prayer. “If you had not prayed with me,” she says, “he would not be here now.”
In our workplace, in this ministry, we pray all of the time. Not only do we begin the morning in devotion and prayer, we pray with coworkers, volunteers, and more importantly, with patients, throughout the day as each opportunity arises. In Philippians 4:6 we read, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” This verse teaches us to not be anxious about anything, but instead just present our case before God and trust Him to do all things well for His glory and our welfare. So when we pray, we ask Him for anything and everything – miraculous healings, jobs for the unemployed, wisdom in our decisions, compassion in marriages, provision for our ministry, and much more. We pray so often not as an act of spiritual obedience, but to invite Jesus into the room, for in Matthew 18:19-20, we read, “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.”
Last week, we sat down with a woman to review the results of her annual physical; we had to tell her that she had cervical cancer. After breaking the news, we prayed with her; we prayed quite a while. As she left the office she said, “I know that God is in this place, and He brought me here to go through this with you.”
Exactly one day later, this same woman returned to our clinic, this time accompanied by a friend. Our patient had turned to us to ask that we help her share terrible news with her friend, a mother. “I cannot tell her, but I know that you can,” she pleaded. Moments later we were in prayer again, asking for God’s solace as the grieving mother rested in our arms absorbing the shock of her son’s sudden death. This mother was brought here for a reason – because God is in this place, because Jesus is in the building, because the Holy Spirit moves among us, and she needed to be with Him.
During this year, I have shared with you details of the growth of our ministry and plans for the future. I have asked you to pray for us and help us with your gifts of financial support. We are busier than ever, and I predict more demand for our services in the coming year. So again, we need your prayers and financial support. Let me, however, beg you to consider our request differently this time. Do not dwell on the numbers of patients we’ve served, the number of dental chairs we hope to acquire, the overcrowding of our parking lot or the rising cost we see in nearly everything we purchase to make this ministry work. Instead, remember what the woman said – God is in this place. Here, we share the love of Christ and serve as examples of the goodness accomplished in His name. Here, the weak, the sick, the poor, the alien, marginalized and outcast come into a loving encounter with Jesus, and do so with uncommon regularity in contrast to the traditional, secular healthcare delivery system.
So now we arrive to what I would ask of you, and my question is simple: What will you do to help build this church?