When They Prayed
FROM THE BISHOP DAVID GRAVES   I chose the theme of our 2023 Annual Conference session, “When They Prayed,” based on Acts 4:31: “And when they had prayed, the place in which they ...
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Have I got a story for you!

June 14, 2020

It is 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 30, 2020, and I have been, as many of you, glued to the television over an outbreak of violence in many of our cities. The initial reason is the murder of an African American, George Floyd. However, that has now been overshadowed by the collective reason of perceived mistreatment toward black men and women by white police officers for years.

And it’s even more than that. It’s anger that has been stuffed down in the souls of any black person mistreated by any white person. Not only by the police.

Two other big stories also have my interest. America has just recently hit more than 100,000 deaths from this coronavirus. And crowds are gathered for the launch of a space rocket.

Three huge stories. Three huge prayer concerns.

I sit alone asking the Lord to show me how to pray.

There is a knock at my door. Three African American people stand on my porch. A young woman, a man, and a small child.

I ask, “May I help you?”

The woman says, “Every time I pass your home coming back from work, I want to stop ...”

My mind moves quickly. A few, in considering building a log home, have stopped to ask if they can look inside. I guess that is why they stopped.

But she finishes.  “Every time I pass your home, I want to stop and pray for you.”

Pray for me?

I am puzzled. They don’t know me. Never seen me. Did not know my name. Yet, they felt led to pray for me?

How could I turn that down?

Of course, I said, “Yes.”

We held hands. She prayed for nothing specific. Just a beautiful prayer of love. When she ended, I said one for her and her family.

Then they left.

In these last couple of hours, I have pondered what that was all about. I think I know. Their obedience fulfilled two scriptures for me.

“Before they call I will answer.” Isaiah 65:24. I had just asked the Lord how I should pray. Right after that came their knock.

And “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:16

This is how I see it. As I sat in my living room stressing a bit over how to pray, (it was all so large and overwhelming) the Lord whispered to this family to stop and be His answer to me. And the answer was, “Just pray. It isn’t so much what you say. Just pray.”

God sent me a righteous family, whose prayers availeth much.

And then, there’s this. While black and white were fighting on the news, black and white were praying together on my front porch.

I will never forget this day.

He is such a faithful God. Praise His Name.

The Rev. B.J. Funk is associate pastor of Central UMC in Fitzgerald. Email her at bjfunk@bellsouth.net.

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