Thursday, October 15, 2015
He came into the assembly and took a seat. He was nervous. He had been contacted a few days before Sunday by the preacher to lead the opening prayer. He had never prayed before in front of the church. He was extremely nervous. Beads of sweat formed on his forehead in spite of the air conditioning. His legs wanted to run. He mentally kicked himself again for accepting the preacher’s request. He had rehearsed what he was going to say several dozen times, but was apprehensive that he would freeze and forget. That scared him even more which elevated his dread beyond critical. The service began. His blood pressure rose with each passing minute as his part came closer. Then it was his time. Would people notice how awkward his approach to the front was? Would they see “nervousness” written all over his face? He literally forced himself to face and look at the audience. His voice broke in announcing, “Let us pray.”
Yet, those three words broke the spell of negative defeat. Frustration which had held him in its grasp. His prayer was audible, clear, without any sign of fear or nervousness, and very articulate. The preacher knew he could do it and that it would mean spiritual growth for him. His parents and grandparents had also dealt with apprehension, but it disappeared once he started his prayer. Those who knew him were elated and later told him how much they appreciated his prayer. Others patted him on the back and told him what a great job he had done.
He was now feeling good about accepting the preacher’s request. He was appreciative of all the well wishes. He was thinking, the next time he was asked, it would not be accompanied with all the negative thoughts that invaded and burdened him down as it did this time. Then, he overheard it. . . .
A member was expressing himself to another in whispered tones that were carried by the winds of discouragement to his ears. The negative brother stated, “I don’t know why the elders would allow someone like him to pray? He’s only been a Christian for a short time. Did you hear some of the terminology he used. It’s not even biblical. I doubt if God even accepted the prayer. If that young man had any decency and respect for the Lord’s worship, he would have learned the correct terminology so his prayer would be scriptural!”
That member went home feeling righteous about his judgment. He thought to himself, “No one was needed in any part of the worship, who didn’t know how to address God properly.” That young man made the mistake of letting that whispered judgment stop him from ever serving again in the public assembly.
“Don’t bad-mouth each other, friends. It’s God’s Word, his Message, his Royal Rule, that takes a beating in that kind of talk.” James 4:11 (MSG)