Single father of six and a servant prayer
I did a thing. You may have done the same thing. You prayed, “God, let me be your servant.”
This is a whopper prayer. Open-ended. Never quite knowing where or how this will lead.
Maybe it was a one-time prayer. Maybe you’ve prayed it again. And again.
Perhaps you pray this daily.
I pray this prayer not half-heartedly. Not by rote. I pray this prayer of servanthood—specifically of “going big or going home”—from the depths and the chambers of my heart that are too complex, too interwoven, too beautiful and too powerful to truly understand.
My ministry matters. Your ministry matters, too.
I adopted five foster children on Father’s Day weekend this year. This past week, we as a family have taken into care our/my sixth. This little one, who is a sibling to the five, is four-months-old.
I get you. By this, I mean I literally hear you. And I have heard you. When the pack of five hits a retail store with me, we create a splash. We get comments. So, yes, I literally hear you. My five children are 9, 8, 6, 5 and 4-years-old.
Some of you totally and completely understand what I have done with fostering the Fab 5’s little brother. You’re smiling now, even if it’s just one where you shake your chin just a bit. Or perhaps there is that good, deep-down swelling in your heart, but it’s there.
Maybe you think I’m totally crazy.
In this Roe v. Wade summer we have had, you can call and hold your position. Beyond this summer, I think we should all do something united—and that’s love children.
This was no easy decision. Like Those Decisions you have made in the past, this one wrenched the gut. There was one way to look at this. Equally, there was another. The details of my decision can be saved for another day, but how I came to this decision are important.
I let God be God. I let God speak.
And trust me, I prayed for God to speak more than once through my silence.
And God did speak.
When you pray to be a servant, when you pray for your ministry to have significance, you will also hear God speak. Sometimes the words are billboard-sized. And neon lit. Sometimes the words are those you have ignored for months, perhaps even years. But they’re still there.
Sometimes the words are auditory. You “hear” God in your head. Sometimes, as in the case of Elijah, the words are not in an earthquake, wind or fire. Instead, they are in a whisper (1 Kings 19). Sometimes the words of God are in nature, in the words of a friend, in a meeting with a group of others (hooray to all those church gatherings including church itself), and sometimes the words of God are in a seemingly happenstance remark from a stranger.
The details of our story are not needed at this time, but I will say this decision was hard—like really, wowzah, oh-my-stars-is-my-stomach-in-a-knot hard.
But God prevails. Through scripture, we learn that God makes people weird, wild, seemingly unorthodox and completely outlandish things.
After standing behind the same pulpit for 14 years this September as a fulltime pastor, I have experienced the highest joys and the lowest, most painful lows from those I have been blessed not to minster to but to minister with. In those high and love places—and in every place in between—I will share what you already know. Love wins. Love always wins. Love always guides. Love always secures. Love also nurtures, protects, and leads. Love always directs. Love always speaks. Read 1 Corinthians 13 again. You’ll see what I mean.
And love? Love is God (1 John 4:8).
I am a preacher. There is a pulpit. You can’t just talk when it comes to God and ministry. You have to do.
And I will.
Do the same. Pray big. Pray not with an answer but with an opening for God to fill. Pray for your ministry to matter, for it to touch lives, bless others, and bring from hopelessness hopefulness.
Pray to be a servant.