I have never been to a foreign country but I think I may know what it will feel like when I do. As a new Christ follower and even fresher church employee I find myself uncomfortable in my own skin when asked to “share” in things common to those who have lived here longer than I have.
The “country” of Christ should not be a scary place to be, and as a matter of fact I really enjoy living here, however – I find myself finding it difficult to learn the language. Well, only one certain dialect is hard for me, Public Prayer. I have no problem with personal prayer, and as a matter of fact, more often than not the things that are going through my head these days are conversations with God. In my head, He and I converse quite well and he understands my fragmented thoughts. Unfortunately, my problem is with being able to form words on behalf of someone else. I can pray silently for someone without any problem but, just like the “impromptu day” in public speaking class, when it comes time to stand up and speak out loud (with no prep time) my brain shuts down and the only thing I can do is ramble in a disorganized manner or be stunned into complete silence. I like to take time to organize my thoughts before speaking.
Today I found myself in a meeting in which my team was asked to partner up and pray for each other. Instantly I could feel myself become flush and filled with anxiety. I love my team. I pray for them on a daily basis…just not out loud or in their presence. I partnered up with Ed Villalba, a man I have come to have great respect for. We had a short conversation in which he asked what he could pray for on my behalf and even offered some time – outside of our meeting – to help me overcome a personal struggle that I am dealing with. He is a kind and generous man. So, he prayed for me. When it came my turn, I started and because I was SO nervous and unprepared I believe that I asked God to help me find the words but so much noise was in my head that I could not hear his response, I could not quiet my fear. In the end, as I felt tears begin to roll down my face, I asked Ed to help me and with so much grace he finished our prayer time together. He directed me to scripture to comfort me and as always, it does.
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.” (Romans 8:26)