Today I had the opportunity to be a part of an event hosted by Mt. Pilgrim Baptist Church in Fairfield. Every year for 11 years, a couple at the church have celebrated their anniversary by hosting a worship and prayer luncheon there. I met the dear lady of this couple last summer at a Mission Birmingham event and then at my church’s Congregational Prayer Summit in November. Since then, we’ve seen each other a few times at different prayer events, and she is also on the Mission Birmingham prayer team that I facilitate, so we communicate regularly.
I was so nervous about going to a place I had never been, and sharing my testimony with them. When I told her that, Mrs. Celia said, “Don’t be nervous. You’re simply coming to the other side of town to visit with your relatives on your Daddy’s (God’s) side.” I loved that, and whenever I thought about it, it did make me feel better.
My friend, Kari, went with me to help me navigate how to get there and for moral and prayer support. As soon as we walked in, I could feel the Holy Spirit in that place. Mrs. Celia led us in a time of prayer and worship. Then, I shared for a few minutes. After that, we had to break into groups to pray through a passage of Scripture. (Of course Kari and I ended up in different groups.) I so enjoyed that time of prayer with those men and women! Our group’s focus was on glorifying the Lord for who He is and what He’s done, and not to ask Him for anything. The testimonies of God’s goodness and faithfulness from these brothers and sisters in Christ were so precious. One of the things I love about corporate prayer is how the Holy Spirit is evident by having someone across the room pray out loud what I had just been thinking. It happened today in this little prayer group too! Afterward, I got hugged by almost everyone. The love of Christ and of His Body was a joy to see and experience.
They served a delicious meal afterward, and I as I talked with these ladies around me, I heard stories of how they have risked it all to serve Christ, reaching out to the least and the lost because it’s what God has called them to do. I heard stories that were similar to mine, and others that were different from mine. Through all of the stories I heard, though, was the common theme of God’s faithfulness and their desire to submit to Him no matter what.
These men and women looked very different from me. Yet today, I felt so loved and welcomed by them, like I truly was part of their family. There was this under-current of unity and love among all of us that can only be from the Holy Spirit. I am doing such an inadequate job of putting it into words, but I came away feeling loved, humbled , but also excited and thrilled at how God unifies us by His Spirit to be the Body of Christ. I was tremendously blessed by the experience.