February 7, 2010
Sunday, 7:00 p.m.
Letter #121: God of the Little Things
Greetings! Wow, what a powerful church service we had today! My week was full of God showing up and working miracles on my behalf, too, so I’ll give you a brief story on that, first, then get to the church service.
I’ve been praying for an old guy named Bernard—I’ve written about him before—for quite some time. He is gruff and doesn’t let people get close to him, but I’ve accepted the challenge and wormed my way into his heart, I think. He smiled when he’d seen me, and I made sure to give him a Christmas card and package of goodies, which blew him away. As I shared before, when he had a stroke, I was able to spend time with him on the yard asking about where he’ll go when he dies.
Well, I haven’t seen him for a couple weeks, and I wondered what had happened to him. In prison, you can’t just make a phone call or two to figure something out. Instead, we have to do things the old-fashioned way and ask God about it!
In praying for Bernard one afternoon, I asked God specifically to please let me see him at dinner that night so I could find out where he’s been. (Since moving him to another building, I’d sometimes seen him as our building of guys passed his, on the way to the chow hall.)
At dinner, however, no Bernard.
On the way back to my building, the inmate directly in back of me—who only comes to dinner if it is something exceptional on the menu, yet had come to dinner tonight “just for the fun of it,” a first!—started telling the guy behind him about Bernard, how he’d been transferred to another prison! I spun around and inquired more—I didn’t know this guy was a “friend” of Bernard!—and had to tell him that he was a direct answer to prayer. He and the other guy could only stare, open-mouthed, as I told them about my prayer two hours before then.
I’ll now be able to write to Bernard—this guy had his prison number! I tell you, my God—my BIG God—cares about all of my little needs when I turn them over to Him. He actually loves all the intricate, mundane, and tiny details of my life, and He loves showing off to get glory by handling them! (For an update on Don“Bernard,” click here.)
Our chaplain makes it a point to schedule as many different ministries who want to come and bless us as possible for our chapel services. Coming all the way from Kansas, we certainly had a different one today! Lightwalker Ministries is a Native American guy with a few other instrumentalists who lead worship in English, Spanish, and Cherokee, complete with Indian flute and big drum, electric and bass guitar, and drum set.
I was the only one from our worship team who made it to the service, so, since the group was running late, I led several worship songs from the piano until they arrived. We had prayer requests while they set up, then they asked me to lead one more while they finished setting up. I chose “How Great Is Our God,” and no sooner did I start playing it, then their drummer, electric guitarist, and bass guitarist joined in. The congregation started getting so into it, and the group backing me up was AWESOME! I jumped up from the piano and led the congregation in the split part of the song—half singing the “How Great Is Our God” part of the chorus, the other half “Name Above All Names.” Wow. Their guys followed me as we closed it out. They asked for another, so I led in “Amazing Grace/My Chains Are Gone.” Beautiful!
Then, the place came alive! This group is truly anointed—and I’d been fairly skeptical. They played their hearts out, never showing the fatigue they should have displayed since they’d just done a three-hour concert until midnight last night, up at 5:00 a.m., and a concert this morning at our prison’s Central Yard before coming to us on North Yard! (Oh, how I recall those good ol’ traveling musician days. 🙂 That infamous 120 concerts in 100 days tour was brutal!)
As they were about to do their last song “Every Move I Make,” they asked me to join them, which I gladly did, pounding my hands into the piano, just to be heard un-miked.
They all thanked me afterward—and said when they come back in three months, they’d like to do more of a blended worship with me. The leader said, “It’s obvious this wasn’t God’s primary plan for you, was it? But it’s also obvious that He is using you in a mighty way here. You have Jesus coming out all over you.”
I praise God that He, in His grace, allows me to do what I love—in prison—to serve Him. What an awesome and kind God I worship!
Thank you for your prayers for me!