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Long-distance Praying

Tonight I had a unique pastoral experience. I was able to minister Christian love and express pastoral care to a woman in a Rita-destroyed town in Southern Louisiana. A person I did not know asked me if I could give her a call. She had just arrived at her home for the first time after Rita visited. The roof was caved in. Many precious things were destroyed. Alone, overwhelmed, and her adult children spread out all over the map, this dear woman was crying when she answered the phone. I think my God-given assignment for tonight was to talk to her, to let her know that she had friends that she had never dreamed of, and to draw her mind to the hope-giving truths of Scripture, a source of solace for all those of us who love God.

She told me that she had driven around town that day. It took longer than normal, she said, because she had to stop and thank every soldier she saw. That’s a refreshingly different perspective than one might get from the media: Broken people, ruined people, grieving people, but thankful people. Nonetheless, tears flow. Mine flowed as I talked with her.

She had no pastor to call her. But today God providentially ordered events in the most unusual way and I found myself being pastor for her. In the past few days I have ministered to precious people in a different world. Twice in the last few days, I’ve prayed over the phone. Twice the lonely person at the other end of the line muffled sobs. Twice I verbalized the cry of suffering listeners. Twice my own soul cried out to God on behalf of the aching person at the other end of the line. Twice I knew that God had transmitted comfort through the phone lines.

John Wesley said that the world was his parish. And he didn’t even have long distance service!

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