Its Sunday morning, every Sunday morning. It is still dark and quite outside. No traffic…it is Sunday morning quite. The community sleeps in. But there is group of men who get up before most on Sunday they meet in a dimly lit but very familiar place. Some come in short and t shirts, overcoats and flannels – I have even seen some still in their pj’s….. at this meeting clothes are not important. The armor is though.
What is important is the heart of these men and their desire to meet with God. These faithful mighty men meet every week. No excuses. Rain or shine, hot or cold. There are a few faces that come and go, but there are ones that are always there. Think about it, they have had the same hard week as everyone else. Faced difficult challenges at work. Dealt with the same bugger heads we have….but they still make the sacrifice of time….i think that is called love for others
These men have answered the call to pray. They pray for their pastor, who they love and protect. They will not betray his confidence. They pray for each and every ministry. They pray for me routinely, whether by name or not because - they pray for families in trouble, folks who are in financial difficulties, the lost, the sick, the hungry, the lonesome, the discouraged, the wayward, outcast, prisoners,. I know, I have been all of these and these warriors are not judges, they are fighters. Fierce and brave. Tough but tenderhearted. Accountable but gracious.
Three years ago, this month, I came because we were desperate. My bride reminded me these men know how to pray and would pray for us. I was downhearted and broken. All my efforts had brought me and my family to a place of what the world would call utter failure. On the next Tuesday, I had appointment with a bankruptcy lawyer. That morning, I just bled my life out and asked these men to pray for me and my family…. I was out of answers. You want to know what they did? Well, first let me tell what they didn’t do…..not one wagged their heads. Not one asked me “how could I get in such a place”…not one told me I had to pull myself up by my boot straps…not one went out and gossiped. And not one was too busy to listen.
Here’s what they did….they gathered around me. They laid hands on and prayed. They prayed from hearts of experience, compassion and empathy. They spoke words of encouragement. They loved on me. One man gave his last dollar. By the afternoon I had an invitation to go a free school with only a hope of job. By weeks’ end, I was embarking on a new career. Since then, this new career has taken me all over the country. Met all walks of people. Occasional, I am given the freedom to share the Gospel or give a word of encouragement – just like was given to me. I can pray in all the homes I visit.
Although not out of the woods totally on the financial end, we can see the light at end of the tunnel.
This is not to glorify men but our Savior and how he uses humble, willing men, even a band of misfits. My Pastor told me once – that’s just the kind of a man God could use.
I thank the Lord for the bravest men I have ever met. Not afraid to humble themselves on their knees interceding for others… looking a whole lot like our Savior. Pray for them because I promise they have prayed for you this week…..these are the men of 1st Baptist North Mobile and I love them. These men will leave and go get their families and return along with everyone else. No one the wiser of their early morning adventures. They will quietly go about teaching or flagging cars, or helping others find a seat or taking the hand of an elder saint and helping them. Always the servant. I cannot thank the Lord enough for keeping His promise – to predestine us to become like Him.. If you ever wonder what that looks like – take a look at these men on Sunday morning.