We were late on Monday for some random reason. When we got there, Elder Banks was about to conclude testimony and prayer time.
Zuri took her seat on the circle–as usual. I went to my corner, briefly scanning the room.
Tony wasn’t there.
Figures. Well, this is–after all–the last place anybody would want to be at…
I plopped on my couch as usual; the old frame squeaked in protest under my weight.
“…and now let us turn each other and claim the power of intercessory prayer. Turn to a brother or sister next to you, and pray for each other for a few minutes.”
I was not alarmed. They had done this before many times. That day, however, Elder Banks was filling in for Zuri who had come late. He must have felt the spirit or something, because he walked up to me, and with an evangelist’s booming voice and expression addressed me, “Daughter. Please join us in prayer.”
“Uh?” I squeaked.
“Come. You can pray with…let’s see…is anyone in need of a partner?”
The silence was eloquent.
Zuri was about to speak up when Martha and Horace—the oldest people in the room—said they wouldn’t mind having a third.
No. No. No. No. No…
Diversion saved me, however. It came in the way of a new arrival dressed in an elegant business suit.
“Why, welcome brother!” Elder Banks said stepping forward to greet him with a hand shake.
At first I didn’t recognize the newcomer. But then I realized that it was Tony walking in and taking a seat next to me on the vile, pink, couch. He flashed a smile at me and greeted me cordially.
There was a murmur of surprise when it was understood that I, the mocker, had been the one to invite the new arrival.
I suppose that—being the good Christians that they were—they’d come to underestimate the power of the God they served, otherwise how could they fail to remember that He can use any situation and any person—even me—for his good pleasure?
For I’m sure it was his pleasure that Tony should be drawn to know and serve him.
* * *
Let me fast-forward fifteen years.
Tony has since then finished college and attended the seminary. He works as a Chaplain in the same hospital I work at and spends much of his free time at a youth shelter mentoring neglected youth to steer them away from a life of addiction.
Furthermore, he also bears the title “Doctor” as he recently earned his PhD—He’s even published two books.
I didn’t know what Tony would eventually become when I first saw him crying his heart out in church–not even that day he arrived at the Study Group. I didn’t even imagine either that Tony would be the person who would help me believe in the power for prayer again.
Life is funny like that. God certainly has a knack for surprising you.
I certainly was surprised by him the first day Tony went to the Bible study group.
part 13 of If You Only Knew