It turned out that my weakness was ENVY.
I wish it wasn’t true. I wish I could say that I don’t envy anyone. It wouldn’t be true.
Take Monday night for instance or rather events over the previous two weeks leading up to Monday night. Many of the ladies at the Women Aglow meeting are members of the same church. In inverness there are a half a dozen or more non-traditional, independent, charismatic churches. They are all the result of a church plant, some decades ago, from mother churches in other parts of the country or the world. Vineyard, Destiny – I don’t know how much they differ in doctrine and practice. More recently there are a number of inter-church ministries and activities of which Women Aglow is one.
Anyway, this particular church has organised a month of prayer, meeting in people’s homes throughout the week. There are so many times and so many places open for people to meet that no one had the excuse they couldn’t make it. Every day, mornings, afternoons and evenings are covered and the homes opened up are so varied that many are within walking distance of wherever a person happens to live.
That’s a lot of praying.
It’s not a matter of how often they pray, but also the quality of prayer. I have known prayer meetings that are quiet affairs. There is a comfortable quietness, but then there is a too-quiet quietness. These meetings are not of the too-quiet variety. Something has been ignited.
There is a pattern that the Women Aglow meetings follow. There is a meal followed by a time of worship followed by a visiting speaker and ending with an opportunity for prayer. There are other bits in between. The numbers change month to month. The menu stays the same. The speakers might be from the group rather than visitors.
There wasn’t a visiting speaker on Monday. The meeting was set aside for bringing testimonies and saying something to encourage and build one another up. There were no awkward pauses. No one was drumming up witnesses to share their stories.
One lady spoke about having a right heart before God. She linked it into sleeping well at night. If we had the right heart before God and were not fussing over the day’s challenges or fretting about tomorrow’s burdens because we had given them over to Him, there should be nothing keeping us awake at night. I am not a great sleeper at night. I don’t think I am fussing about things. I read somewhere that a lack of sustained sleep can be something left over from the menopause. It certainly made me think about involving God into my sleep preparations. I am not an insomniac, and I am getting sufficient hours – but it is the brokenness of the night that gets to me.
Part of the evening involves worship – an opportunity to sing together. I love to hear women worshipping together. I don’t always know the songs, or sing a particular song to a different tune – but I like the worship part. The worship leader is a lovely woman.
On Monday night the worship was wonderful. There was a different spirit about it. Did we sing louder, or were we more in tune? Perhaps.
I think it was more to do with the prayer meetings. I think that the prayer meetings had allowed the ladies to really move close to God. That’s not to say they strangers before that. For many people meeting together as Christians is a Sunday morning experience, and one or two evenings during the week. Morning, afternoon and evening chances to come together to pray – every day – has to change a person. And I think it showed in worship that evening.
Which brings me to ENVY – I want to be daily encountering God and changing. I can do it on my own – yes. And I do. But there is something special about a communal act, something focussed and sustained. I can see only blessings for a church community doing that.
There’s nothing to stop me joining in!