It had been over a year since we had seen them, so it was great to finally get together.  We met at a restaurant about an hour away so that the drive would be similar for both couples.  As you can imagine, there were no lags in the conversation while we were with them – after all, in one way or another, we have been friends since day one.
And, especially since I had just talked about it in my sermon the week prior, I was glad that we asked our waitress that all important question, “Is there any particular way that we might be able to pray for you?”  She was immediately taken back in a very positive way.  Her eyes lit up, but there was also great hesitancy in her voice.  When she said she needed time to think, we immediately said, “Take your time.  We are going to be talking for a couple more hours.  If you think of something, just let us know.”  Some time later she was back at our table with a request.  “Please pray for my one-and-a-half-year-old son.”  She didn’t mention any pressing issues – it just sounded like she was concerned about his over-all life (My initial impression was that our waitress was about 19 years old and without a wedding ring, so I was not expecting her to have a son).  Though she gave us her son’s name, I can no longer recall it (but he has been baptized – praise Jesus).  Her name was Mattie (spelling?)
So today, I am still praying for Mattie and her son … knowing that our gracious God and Savior Jesus is listening … and assuming that I will never know anything more of what he does for them.  At the same time I am still praying for Amaya and her family.  We met Amaya at a restaurant late last year, and I remain confident that our Lord is continually carrying them forward.
Tuesday afternoon I had a conversation with a pastor friend of mine in preparation for a meeting that evening.  He told me that for the past month he had been praying, “Lord, I don’t know what we should do or how we should proceed in this meeting.”  I had been praying the same thing.  Then a chance conversation with another pastor gave me the name of an old friend to contact (one I had probably not seen since elementary school).  I sent him an email.  He gave me a call and told me to be in contact with someone else (they both live in California!).  This person responded with more quality information than I had requested, and I forwarded it all to friend #1.  Tuesday as we spoke he told me that upon receiving my email he immediately said, “Lord, you truly know what you are doing – you have just given us everything we need to move forward on Tuesday evening.”
So today I am still praying for those affected by that meeting and for the plans God will be unfolding before us.  He is opening hearts and minds to follow a path that will likely take us beyond our wildest imagination.  Who knows, it could easily touch many more lives than the people currently involved.  At the same time I am praying about a very similar conversation I will be having on May 20 with a completely different group of people.  Both groups have great passion for Christ and his kingdom and are searching for new, creative ways to do kingdom work in our changing neighborhoods and world.
Last week I spoke of conversations I had with two individuals while visiting them in the hospital.  You may recall that I spoke with them about the interaction Jesus had with Martha after her brother Lazarus had died (John 11).  My conclusion to the story for them went like this:  “Martha says (to Jesus), ’I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.’  And when Jesus asks if she believes in some phenomenal things regarding the resurrection (which I do not think she understands), she simply replies, ’I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world’ – or, basically, ‘I have no idea what you just said, but I trust you.’ In the same way we often do not understand our Lord’s ways or know what he has in store for us … but that’s ok, because all we are called to do is to trust him.”
One of those people I had visited in the hospital was suddenly called home in her sleep early Monday morning.  While I am not praying for her anymore, I am still praying for her family and friends.  I will miss an opportunity to pray with the family on Sunday because we will be sailing the Caribbean.  But I can assure you, I will still be praying for them then … and for many days to follow.  Even as I am still praying FOR YOU.
“We give thanks to God always for all of you constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.  For we know, brothers and sisters loved by God, that he has chosen you because the gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.” (1 Thessalonians 1.2-5)  Yes, this is how I am still praying for you.

“Remember,” Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst.  Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”  The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” (John 4.13-15)
Still Praying