By Hilary Scheppers
“For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” ~Matthew 18:20
I once met a woman on a train who had a revolver tattooed on her temple. The barrel of the gun aimed across her forehead at another tattoo of a shooting star. She had other ink work around her neck, but it was covered by her hoodie. I had finally arrived on the train going the right direction to the airport and in the flurry of worry that I would miss my flight—I reassured myself that everything would work out if I stayed present. Staying present resulted in listening to the woman with the revolver tattoo.
Her name was Michelle. “Because you can’t spell HELL without MICHELLE,” she kept saying. “I’ve been to hell and back. I know.” I believed her. She noticed I was listening, and so she started to talk to me directly. She asked me if I prayed. I hesitated. I mumbled, “Yes.”
“You have to pray all the time,” she said. “If you’re going to make mac’n cheese. You have to pray, God, please help this be the best mac’n cheese ever.” She had a point. “Do you have a husband? You have to pray for your husband.”
“Well, can we pray that I make this flight?” I said, somewhat embarrassed, somewhat serious, somewhat desperate. Right there, we prayed together. When it was her stop, Michelle stood on the platform praying over me as the sliding doors closed. I drifted on through the dark tunnels. A few minutes later, the train came to a stop. There was train traffic. I hadn’t prayed in a long time. I didn’t know what to say. Lord… please…make this train go.
The train lurched forward.
I share this story because it’s an example of the Lord hearing me and I hearing Him. The Lord sends His people to share the joy of the Gospel. He uses all his people to build His kingdom. We must work to keep our hearts open to hearing his voice, no matter our judgment.
And I didn’t make my flight. Even though the Lord listened to my prayer, His answer wasn’t the outcome I wanted. Yet this didn’t keep me from trusting in the Lord’s love for me. Trust in the Lord, in the end, He will deliver what is best for you and all people to be transformed.
Lord, grant me the courage to pray to you in public, out loud, and with strangers who may need to hear your voice so they may be reminded of your love for them. Lord, help me be prayerful so that I may be an answered prayer for someone.
Call to Action
Meditate on this line from today’s Gospel: “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them” (Matthew 18:20). Seek how you can invite the Lord into your gatherings with people who are not active in their faith.
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