November 16, 2008
Sunday, 6:00 p.m.
Letter #63: God Showed Up!
Greetings! God is grrreat!! Tony the Tiger got baptized today! Along with four other guys taking this next step in their walk of faith, a big guy named Tony (nicknamed “Tiger”) took the plunge.
One of his closest buddies was seated next to me and was reduced to a bucket of tears when he saw his pal go forward to be baptized. “I was just praying for him, that he’d take this step!” he told me.
Tyrell preached—he leads our Monday Bible Studies, as well—and led in communion. Tyrell had prepped us ahead of time to be in prayer and fasting for the Spirit of God to move in the midst of us at the service. We were ready, with sure expectation for what God would do. The service was highly unusual in that I didn’t play piano at all during the service. The only music was everyone singing one of the favorites: “Lord, Prepare Me to Be a Sanctuary” during communion.
The best part of the service, though, wasn’t the communion, sermon, or even the baptisms—it was the laying on of hands in prayer, at the close of the service.
Everyone was given fair warning—if you wanted to leave, you could “and we’ll pray for you as you go” 🙂 —said in as nice of a way as that can be said (it is possible). The more charismatically leaning service from the beginning became Tower of Pisa-esque in its lean during the prayer time. I was expecting a visit from Daddy and Mark, but nothing could have dragged me from today’s service (except, perhaps, homemade lasagna). We were expecting a visit from God! And, BOY, did he ever show up!
As guys walked forward for prayer from six members of the prayer team, others grouped together to pray. A guy near me started chatting a bit with me about his family, but I couldn’t help but notice the guys standing alone in the room, each one trying to decide if he should wait in line for prayer or leave. I watched as a few walked out; the noise of many prayers and men crying out to God and doing battle against a common enemy drowned out their silent exits.
I encouraged the brother who was talking to me to fan out and pray with the loners. We split up and took the back half of the room for God.
The first guy I came to, I asked his name (Roberto) and how I could pray for him. He broke down in tears as I put my arm around him, and we prayed for his mom and young daughter to receive Christ as Savior. Next, I prayed for a young man, Jay, who asked prayer for guidance. He’s a new Christian and needs encouragement in his faith.
I then prayed for Mel, a guy whom I’d just seen a few nights ago at chow hall, leading his four-man table in giving thanks for the meal. He was standing next to Danny, the plumber, who leaves for Arizona tomorrow. As I prayed for these two guys, both of whom have been used by God to encourage me, I was moved to tears as I begged God to continue to use them to reach into the darkness wherever they are sent.
I then grabbed James, my singing buddy, and we tag-teamed Rob, a new Christian, and spoke blessings into his life, as we asked God to take us, empty us, and use us as vessels for His kingdom. Keith came up for backup, and we lifted up his brother, Kirk, who is caught in the things of the world.
On and on it went, as God sent me around to pray for several others. By the time it was over, I was exhausted, my voice was hoarse, and my eyes were puffy and red. So much for looking my best for a visit! Instead, I looked like I’d not slept for a week, then gotten into a fistfight. And lost. My heart was ready for the Holy Spirit’s visit, though, and that made all the difference in my day!
I had a blast with Daddy, and it was especially nice to visit with Mark, whom I hadn’t seen for eight and a half months. Crazy. I’m so proud of him … he’s taking a stand for Christ while serving in the Coast Guard. I hope to see him again before he heads off to Alaska for a year, since it’s not likely I’ll get the chance to travel up there at any time in the near future. 🙂
Please pray for the many guys on this yard who still need to receive Christ as their Savior. Pray also for the guys we need to follow up with, including a notoriously gay individual whom I was shocked to see in the service today—and he stayed to the end. He is a vile man, and he needs Christ. I’m grateful for all God is doing here! He is bringing revival to B-Yard! I love you all.