“My house shall be called a house of prayer.” That’s where he’s speaking from.
He tells it straight, our pastor does, and how we love him for it. He lays it out there, one, two, three, this Good Seed falling down on soil.
He calls us out. Calls us up. Calls us deeper in. And then.
He arrives at his last point: “Just do it.” Borrowing the line from Nike, it’s down to this. When it comes to prayer, “Just do it.”
Then it’s time to end it. “We’re mixing it up today,” he says. “Doing it different. Please come!” And there they come…deacons, pastors, wives, church leaders stretching across the front on the other side of the altar. “If you’re carrying a need today, please come. Someone here will pray.”
Like that, they stream from left and right. From upstairs and down, from front and back. Carrying baggage, hauling burdens laid on backs, they come. A hush, all holy, falls as needs framed in skin approach altars where ears, hearts and arms reach out to receive.
Heads bend low, lips murmur petitions, and earth reaches up to touch Heaven. And that’s when I see him.
Rushing, moving, nearly stumbling, he falls to his knees this side of the altar. While the others are standing, he drops, felled by the weight of what’s on his back. He’s weeping, this one, and me? Tears are leaking, too. He’s bent, still, over that altar where someone prays. Arms enfolding, angels attending, his burden–it’s being lifted.
Down at the altar. Where self may die, where resurrection waits. Right there at the altar where intercession’s made and burdens fall. Death, then life comes at the altar.
Dear one. If you were sitting across from me, coffee in hand, I’d look you in the eye. And this is what I’d say: “This place here, this can be an altar. Whatever you’re carryin’, I’d love to help with the liftin’. I know the One who can, see, and I’d love to talk to Him. For you.”
Is there something I may pray for you today? Some burden that’s gotten too heavy? There’s strength in numbers, there’s power in prayer, and life comes at the altar. If you whisper it here (you don’t have to leave a name), it’d be my privilege to pray for you. Right here at this altar.