In the days past, many years ago (1997), I served a rural church in Dial, Texas. Dial is about 3 miles east of Bug Tussel and 9 miles south of Honey Grove. I’m serious. You could only see two houses from the church not counting the parsonage. It was my first church.
Now you need to understand something. I’m a city boy. I do not know anything about the farm or rural culture. This church allowed me to serve them while I was in seminary. While I could have coasted at this church, I did not coast. I worked the field. I made visits up and down dirt roads, introducing myself to everyone possible. In 1998 God worked out there. In a church that ran 35 people we baptized 21. By the time we left the church averaged in the 50s and we had a high of 68 in worship one Sunday. God was just working. It was all Him through us. What was the secret sauce?
Dial Baptist Church had men in it who worked for a living. They were farmers and ranchers. I remember so many funny things. Bill Thurman would move the clock up to shorten the preaching time. Gerald Wishard and the boys took my clothes and hid them when I had to get into the baptistery to fix the stairs that were floating. These were men with a sense of humor. They were also spiritual men. They did not pray long, but they prayed right. One phrase I remember those men praying consistently was this:
Lord, give him the words You would have him to say.
At first I thought, what a simple prayer. Then I wondered if it was shallow. Then I chalked it up to “it’s just a prayer.” Yet after all these years later I have come to hear it again in our Boiler Room praying. It’s a simple prayer, but I have come know its power.
This prayer ….
- Assumes the power of God will be present.
- Knows God has something to say that a preacher may not or probably will not have in his notes.
- Assumes God ultimately delivers the word He wants taught or preached.
- Allows the preacher to study, pray, write, yet to preach without notes with confidence as I know people are praying, “Lord, give him the words You would have him to say.“
- Proves people are hungry for a freshly delivered word from God not a warmed over sermon.
Thank you Dial Baptist Church, Hillcrest Park Baptist Church, Cornerstone Baptist Church, and First Baptist Church here in Ruidoso, New Mexico. You allowed then and allow me now to serve and you pray for me. I’m humbled and thankful.
Next week pray this prayer with your pastor and for your pastor:
“Lord, give him the words YOU would have him to say.”