It was mid-August 2015. It was the Lord’s Day. It had been a long day. Sundays are always long days. Good, long days. After a full Lord’s Day of ministry I call my parents on the way home and we catch up and talk about the things of the Lord and our churches. I remember them doing the same with their folks. Back then one of the reasons was because long distance rates were lower on the weekend. Now it is because our lives are built around ministry and our ministries are built around the Lord’s Day.
After the conversation I went out and sat in the rocker on the front porch and put my feet up. A couple raccoons frolicked around the other side the the street then crossed passing into the back yard without noticing me. Then I heard a voice. It was the voice of the Spirit in my soul, like an internal conversation.
“Ken, you have certainly devoted yourself to the ministry of the Word, haven’t you?”
“Yes, I have, Lord, for decades now I have devoted myself to the ministry of the Word every single week for over thirty-five years. I have written messages and Bible studies and articles for Sunday School, Sunday Morning and Wednesday Evening Bible and sermons week after week, month after month, and year after wonderful year of ministry. The delivery of those messages has been the great joy of my ministry.”
The Lord seemed to say to me: “Have you devoted yourself to prayer in the same way?”
I knew the answer was no.
The book of Acts records the story of the early church. The sixth chapter is the passage where the first deacons were chosen. They were chosen so the Apostles could devote themselves to prayer and the ministry of the Word. If the Apostles were were directly commissioned by the risen Christ needed to devote themselves to prayer, it is certain that we will not have the increase that comes from God unless we devote ourselves to prayer.
The dialog was an inner dialog in my spirit, but I went to sleep that night knowing that God was communicating something very significant to me on that summer evening out on the porch. I need to devote myself to prayer like I have devoted myself to the ministry of the Word.
In the morning a parishioner was scheduled for an early surgery. I would need to rise early. What happened that morning is something I will not soon forget… I’ll tell you that story tomorrow.