John 21:16b-19 – Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep." The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?" Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you." Jesus said, "Feed my sheep. I tell you the truth, when you were younger you dressed yourself and went where you wanted; but when you are old you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go." Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. Then he said to him, "Follow me!" (NIV)
In November, one of the churches in my hometown was celebrating its fiftieth anniversary, and, during their celebrations, many tributes were given to the five remaining charter members and the ninety-year-old minister who was their first pastor. During the Sunday evening praise and sharing service, several people told what the church had meant to them over the years.
All their stories were touching, but the one that stood out in my mind was about the blessing that a group of men had experienced during their prayer meeting. These men met every Saturday night for prayer, not at the church, but at the local mall.
Later, the wife of one of these prayer warriors shared with us the purpose of the prayer meeting:
- They didn't meet just to pray for the Sunday services, as I had first thought. No, these men, because of the colder weather, met in their cars, where they prayed together from one o'clock in the morning until three. For two hours, during the darkness of the night, they left their families and their warm beds to pray for each person, each man or woman, who came out of the local tavern. I'm new to this town, and I don't know the names of the people praying or the ones being prayed for, but God does, and I believe He will hear their prayers.
Later, as I thought about this group of caring men praying together in the parking lot, I began to ponder the difference we could make in our towns if we took time to pray for those who attend the local tavern more frequently than they attend the local church.
Luke 14:23 – And the lord said unto the servant, "Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled." (KJV)
Prayer: Dear God, help us to pray for the people in our towns and in our neighbourhoods who need to know about Your plan of salvation. Give us a new vision for those who don't know You. Amen.