This weekend, I will stand behind a conference podium for the first time in over a year, in this case, a church conference for women. The pandemic has slowed down my speaking schedule dramatically–ok, really, eradicated it.
I have missed the preparation, the digging into the verses, the conversations with the planning committee, the testing of a phrase out loud in my empty apartment. I have missed thinking of those who will sit in the chairs in front of me.
So, as I finish the messages and check just one more word study, I am praying for those who make the event possible and for those who will hear.
For the Planning Committee and Volunteers: Lord, please bless their labor. May they find their delight in how You will bring the details together to best glorify You. Help them, Lord, to view the minor frustrations of table settings, of program adjustments, of the wrong table cloths as a part of Your greater plan, leading them to depend on You. Give them quick thinking, gracious words, and great love for the women they are serving. Remind them that when they check a registration, or find a good spot for a wheelchair, or vacuum after arranging flowers that they are really doing it for You.
For the Pastor: May God remind me that I am not speaking at “Pastor So-and-so’s church,” but rather, at the church where Pastor So shepherds Jesus’ people. May God grant the pastor delight in his service. May the care of these sheep not be a burden to his soul. God, please give him the patience to see the blurry image of Christ’s bride before him through the mundane tasks of administration as much as in the deliverance of the Word of Life to her.
For the Pastor’s Wife: Father, the under-shepherd’s helper has a hard lot. May her support of him bring joy to her. God, give her friends, close friends who she can trust and with whom she can relax. Protect her from the maliciousness of petty opinions, and fill her heart with overflowing love for the sheep, even those who bite. May her gracious care for the church, her community, and her family ever point to Jesus. Make her a light in whatever sphere You have led her.
For the Audio/Visual Folks: Thank you, Lord, for the technical skills that you give to people. Thank you for a mic with fresh batteries that won’t get turned on during the congregational singing (Please!). May my words be an encouragement to them and benefit the whole church as they serve with greater understanding of how You use men and women to effect Your purposes.
For the Men Who May Serve: Thank you, Lord, for all the men who make this conference possible for these women–serving food, setting up chairs, running one more errand. Thank you, especially, for the legacy and example of the older men who are the first ones to sign up. Thank you for the young men who are learning how to serve well. Establish, Father, discipleship through these shared moments. May You give them all enjoyment in caring for this part of Your bride.
For the Musicians: Lord, as the morning stars sang at creation, we are grateful that You have given the same gift to us to rejoice in You, to sing to others of your greatness, to remember the truths of Your character. For those who lead us, may the familiar words they sing ring afresh in their ears. Give them wisdom in their choices, humility in their gifts, and skill in the craft that never distracts, but only ever points to You.
You can find a post here with how I am praying for the women who will be in attendance at this conference.