UpBuilding Men, Women, and Children in Practical Christianity

September 2004 Monthly Letter

Dear Partner In Ministry:

We know God answers prayer in mysterious ways, BUT how about the mysterious ways He leads us to pray?

At each UpBuilding Weekend I gather with the leaders (elders, deacons, trustees, and Sunday School teachers) early Sunday morning for a time of creative prayer.

One portion of time is devoted to pray for all the church membership, using the church's pictorial directory.

In a small-sized membership Methodist Church in Oregon, Ohio, I divided the 18 leaders into 6 groups of 3. One group included the pastor and an elder who had married a woman whose husband had left her 6 years ago.

The church directory we were using was antiquated, printed 9 years ago and contained a picture of this woman, her former husband, and 5 children.

I randomly assigned 2 pages in the 12 page directory to each group, letting each decide how it desires to pray for every family.

Without looking at the particular people on the pages assigned to them, those in the pastor's group chose to pray out loud for the 18 people per page (3 across and 6 down) in alternating fashion.They numbered off "1-2-3" and begin to pray in turn for the families.

Well, maybe you have intuitively guessed what was about to happen!

After a few rounds, the elder's turn came to pray for the next family. It was his wife's family including her former husband!!!

Realizing the situation and knowing the pain and turmoil caused by the marriage dissolution, the pastor quickly volunteered to be the one to pray for the family and especially for the former husband!

"No, I'll pray." the elder replied. "God is speaking to me. I don't believe it's by coincidence that this picture came up next in the rotation. God knows how I feel about this man in my heart. His Word says 'to forgive and to pray for our enemies'. I take this as His prompting me to obey Him." He took a deep breath and in faith spoke a prayer of confession and petition!

During our time of feedback, the elder revealed this to us all. We realized that God had visited us in a marvelous and mysterious way!

It's no mystery to me why God continues to upbuild His people through UpBuilding Ministries. It's because of your prayers and financial support. Thank you. Mysteriously yours!


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