I need to solicit prayers from anyone and everyone. Usually, I'm the one people come to for prayer and I delight in that ministry. Nothing is more rewarding than praying with people and watching God work in their lives.
But now the tables are turned and I am in desperate need of prayer myself and I'm not ashamed to ask for it.
That's the biggest problem I find with people today. They are afraid to ask for prayer as though it was some sign of weakness.
I've been a pastor for almost 30 years and I can never understand why people are afraid to acknowledge their weakness, as though I did not know about such things. There are no "super saints," only people who play saints on television and they don't count (especially if they live in Florida, but that's another story).
No such compunction rests with me today. I know how weak I am, I know when I need someone to pray for me - and brother and sister, I need it.
Let me explain my situation and you be the judge.
For several weeks, the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage has been using the "C" word. No word brings more sheer terror to a husband than the "C" word and it has been flying around the parsonage during the last several weeks like a lovebug with mad cow disease.
In consulting the leading authorities on the subject, no known cure for this malady exists, but leading scientists are feverishly working on it as we speak. Speaking for all husbands, it can't be too soon.
For some of the unmarried people in my audience, let me explain what the "C" word is. Even writing the word brings a cascade of shivers up and down my spine.
The dreaded word I'm referring to is "change." Whew! I said it.
Several weeks ago, the good Mistress of the Parsonage and Yours Truly, were enjoying a relaxing repast after an arduous week at the church. Foolishly, I thought my week was completed successfully.
Suddenly, the blood in my veins went ice cold when those dreadful words tumbled from her lips with the ease of a used car salesman at the end of the month.
"Honey," she cooed, "I've been thinking about changing our living room around."
Every husband knows when his Significant uses the words "thinking" and "changing" in the same sentence, his life, as he once enjoyed it, is over. Kaput! Finis! Terminated! He might as well run for governor of California.
As if this is not bad enough, then comes the abhorrent question, "Honey, what do you think?"
An inexperienced husband would immediately think this a solicitation for information from his Dearly Beloved. Contraire, mon frère.
For the veteran husband it is a warning to get out of the way - and fast - change is coming. To object to this change is to put one's life in jeopardy, which is no game.
This points up the huge difference between husbands and wives. Wives change their minds. Husbands mind those changes.
That is precisely why at the wedding ceremony there is an exchange of vows.
It is the last time a husband will change anything.
However, it is a philosophical "sic-um" to the new wife. From that moment on, change will become a way of life and happy is the man who accepts it for what it's worth and gets out of the way.
Don't misunderstand me. I love to change my socks and underwear every day. That, however, is the extent of it.
I don't even like to exchange merchandise when I buy the wrong size. I don't like change clanging in my pants pocket.
I love my easy chair to be where it has been for the last eight years. I love the house just the way it is.
I love knowing where everything is. I am the king of my castle, and, please, don't move my throne.
There; I said it and I'm glad I said it. I just hope "She" isn't reading this.
For the last several months, my wife has been watching the Home & Garden channel, especially the program "While You Were Out." I am now terrified to leave my home for any length of time.
I'm afraid I will come home and see that truck drive down the street from our house. I will walk into my house, greeted by television cameras, and shown the new and improved domicile and asked if I like the "changes."
I won't like the changes and I definitely won't like anyone messing around with my easy chair - the king's throne. Every husband easily understands my solicitation for prayer.
There is, however, one area where I accept and even welcome change. That is the spiritual. It is the hope of such change in my life that brings peace and comfort.
My old ways of deceit and shame can be changed. New ways can be brought into my life. Ways that uplift the soul and bring "joy unspeakable and full of glory" to bear upon my life.
The Apostle Paul teaches this: "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new." (2 Corinthians 5:17 KJV.)
Nobody needs despair. God's grace can bring the right change in anyone's life.
No matter how hopeless or discouraging a situation might seem, one word from God can make all the difference in the world.