Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is anyone of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned he will be forgiven. Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. James 5:13-16
Dell walked toward the stone structure he’d come to call his home church. He reflected on the way his life had changed since he’d become a believer. It wasn’t that long ago that he had few friends and the ones he considered friends were only his friend as long as he had booze or dope to feed them.
He’d lived in a biker gang, partying all the time at their meeting place, a local bar that was still there but of no interest to him now. In fact, one of the guys had called him yesterday.
“Hey, Dell, where you been buddy. We missed ya.” The voice had sounded raspy to Dell’s ear, the dry sound of a smoker who’d coughed up a storm recently.
Dell smiled into the receiver. “I been around. How’re you doin’? Still smokin’ I see. Those things’ll kill you one of these days.”
The caller suppressed another cough. “Still preachin’ I see. That’ll get you dead one of these days.” The threat was evident in the menacing sound that reached Dell’s ears. He’d crossed the line.
“Hey Dell.” The caller continued as if he’d never spoken harshly. “Wanna come to the ‘Spokes’? We could have a few laughs just like the old days.” He cleared his throat a few times and then laughed in a forced manner.
“Naw. I quit that place. You know that. But the place where I go now is a friendly place and you’d be welcome.” Dell stopped breathing waiting for an answer.
A loud incredulous laugh rang through the phone waves. “Me? Go to church? It is church you’re talking about, ain’t it? I heard you got religion. Leave me outta that, man. I don’t need none of that.” The phone went dead. It was as if the caller raced to get away from something that was chasing him.
Dell walked on. He recalled the feeling of hopelessness that he’d felt then but also the knowledge that God could change that man as he’d changed him. Dell also remembered how the pastor urged his congregation to not take rejection personally but to continue to pray for the people God placed on their heart. Dell also added his friend to the prayer chain. He had many others praying for his friend now.
Dell was not alone. His church family celebrated life with him, prayed with him, and invited him to many fun get-togethers. Dell had even met a wonderful woman who didn’t care what he’d done a couple of years ago. She loved the man he was now.
Being part of the family of God gives us a whole new group of friends who really do care about us both physically and spiritually. Are you part of a believing congregation? Do you pray for them and do you ask them to pray for you? Do they keep you accountable? We are all significant to the people we attend church with as we pray, fellowship, and keep each other on the narrow path toward heaven.
Father, thank You for my friends. Thank you for bringing me to this fellowship of believers and for the freedom we have to meet together and praise you together every week. AMEN.
This is an excerpt from Two-Up, Riding With The Lord
In Two Up, Riding With The Lord, Barbara Ann Derksen creatively illustrates the importance of what it means to be God’s adopted child… Accepted, Secure,
Significant, and Free… through faith in God’s one and only Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. You will discover the privileges of being a child of God, your strength as a believer, and the power given to you by God’s Holy Spirit as you spent time in His Word through these daily readings.