Last Sunday my home church (First Baptist Church Dalton, Georgia) had “Youth Sunday.” Many churches do something similar in which the youth are in charge for a day. (With proper supervision and ONLY for a day, mind you! We wouldn’t want them to really be in charge!)
Sitting there in my pew I reflected back to when I was a youth and we had Youth Sunday. Keep in mind that those memories are now only vague, and definitely in black and white, not color. I remember teaching Sunday School. “Teach” was not so much the operative word, now that I have a better understanding of the cognitive approaches to imparting knowledge and understanding. I had “the” Men’s class that day. What could I tell them that they did not already know? How would they be moved to a deeper Christian faith by my feeble attempt to pontificate the Word? It didn’t matter in the long run; they were very supportive and appreciative of my attempts and the encouragement I received may have benefited my openness to hear God’s call into ministry.
Like many adolescents there was apprehension abundant. However, each participant “performed” wonderfully and we “had church!” Some read Scripture, many sang in the youth choir, some played percussion instruments; one very talented young lad played the organ (how does one do that anyway? It takes hands AND feet!) A couple even prayed – out loud!
Until I became comfortable speaking in public, I was very timid about praying in public. After all, I’m talking to the Almighty on behalf of all of us in the room. These pray-ers gave thoughtful consideration to the words they were to utter. Perhaps they were coached by the youth minister or other leaders. Regardless, they were well done.
Not many pray-ers, myself included, impress me in the hearing of the audible prayer like one this Sunday. The young man spoke clearly and eloquently. He demonstrated for many how to pray an “opening prayer” or “invocation.” He articulated that we were all entering into the opportunity to worship God. He asked God to “aide us to hear your Word this morning.”
WOW! That’s it, I thought! In all we do in our designed one hour of “worship” on Sunday morning – singing, praying, reading litanies, hearing a sermon – we are there to hear a word from God. It cannot be done unless God Himself aides us so that we actually “hear” it. This aide could take many forms. The aide I normally need is to clear my mind of distractions and focus on the moment.
God wants us to hear His Word through many means each and every day of the week. It may be in the reading of Holy Scripture; it may be in silent (operative word!) meditation; it may be in singing hymns and spiritual songs; it may be in caring for another person who has a need.
Oh God! Forgive me for not hearing you like I should. Aide my hearing today so that I do not miss what You have for me today!