Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Praying Over Empty Chairs

I was setting up the youth room for our Tuesday night high school gathering, plugging in computers to screens and adjusting lighting levels. It's the drudge work for me, the stuff that I have to do so that I can better focus on what I want to do.

Finally set up, I put my preaching notes on a stand, set my Bible down, and sat on a stool in the middle of the stage. Quiet and empty, the room would soon be filled with raucous worship music and the lively discussion of teenagers.

Looking out over the rows of chairs, I offered up a prayer: God, transform the hearts of those who sit here tonight. Nothing fancy or elaborate in those words, but the depth of the request was palpable.

With all of my preparation and hard work, I still cannot transform a person's heart. Only God can. I can create environments for transformation, fostering relationships and guiding students in the ways of Jesus. But He has to do the miracle. That prayer wasn't only for the students in the chairs. It was for me. It is a reminder that He must increase and I must decrease, that I am only a conduit for His love and grace.

I think God answered my prayer--my own heart was transformed in praying it.

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