Lessons from the Heart
On Sept. 18 I arrived at the Carroll County Prayer Gathering three hours early so I could get the technical equipment set up and tested, and then I planned to have time to relax, pray, and watch people. The first hour was very quiet as I carried in and set up the equipment. Then the pastors arrived to set up the room for the gathering, and you could feel the excitement start to build. People started to trickle in during the hour prior to the gathering. Some were quiet, some were boisterous, some seemed a little apprehensive about what would happen, and some seemed excited about what they hoped and prayed God would do that evening. As 6:00 approached, the trickle of people turned into an ever growing stream and the level of excitement continued to grow.
I remember, a few years ago, reading a story about a crosseyed, pragmatic preacher by the name of George Whitfield who was enough of a pain to the Methodists in England in the 18th century that he was never assigned a church in which to preach. So he started preaching in the parks, squares, and street corners. As he continued to proclaim God’s message of redemption, thousands of people finally started gathering to hear his evangelistic message, then tens of thousands. Later Whitfield traveled to America. When giving evangelistic sermons in America, Benjamin Franklin wrote that he thought George’s voice was strong enough that he could be heard by 30,000 people at one time.
The particular story that I was reading focused on one of his series of messages in America. He started in New York and preached his way to Charleston. The story was about people gathering in Virginia to hear him speak. The afternoon air was filled with the clatter of horses’ hooves and the creaking of the carriages as people hurriedly gathered to hear Whitfield preach in a large meadow. Horses were gasping for air. People were gasping for air as they rushed to the meadow. Such anticipation! Such expectation!
There was similar anticipation and expectation among the pastors of Carroll County who have been praying together for months and years for the Holy Spirit to come in power on the people of Carroll County. We pastors were filled with anticipation and expectation for what would happen at the gathering. Some of us were excited and surprised at the number of cars and people already gathered. The anticipation and expectation spread to the people gathered that evening.
Have you been experiencing such anticipation and expectation in your relationship with Jesus Christ? The pastors who have been gathering for weekly prayer are excited to see what God is preparing for the people of Carroll County. But we are also very aware that what happens in the future must be God’s will and in His power – not ours.
Please be praying for our Lord’s guidance to be clear for the Carroll County pastors for what God wants to see happen in this area. God’s grace and blessing to you!
Chuck Compton is pastor of Flora Presbyterian Church.