Have you ever declined an offer for special prayers? Here’s my experience…
It had been six successive Sundays since I worshipped at my home church. #WorkConstraints. I was thrilled to be back to familiar faces, songs and worship ritual; to hug the kids who often crowd me after service.
“Aunty, Aunty!” A tiny voice called. I turned around and there was Layla, speeding in my direction. “Go easy Layla.” I said, worried she might trip. She reached me in a blink. I tucked my hands beneath her arms, lifted her, made a 360 degrees spin and hugged her tightly. #PricelessMoment. “I miss you so much Aunty” – her way of letting me know my absence was felt. “Aww, I miss you too hon. Are you okay?” I asked while stroking her long hair. “How is school?”
We were still catching up, when one of the ushers came by. “The Assistant Pastor would like to see you.” She said, interrupting the happy reunion with my little friend. “Okay, thanks. Be there soon.” I placed Layla on her feet, stooped to her height, reassured her of my love and promised to visit. We parted and I went to see the Pastor, totally curious as to why he asked to see me.
“Hello sister!” He said as I walked into his office, shaking my hands and motioning for me to take a seat. “Hello Pastor, thank you.”
Pastor: I haven’t seen you around for quite some time.
Me: That’s exactly right. (I admitted, not willing to say more. I tend to be high on discretion )
Pastor: I imagine you must have been travelling the world?
Me: (Hesitant) Oh, errm, I’ve been a little mobile, yes.
Pastor: Always airborne! Hahaha. Going from country to country, making money. You think I don’t know? I hope you are also planning on settling down. You can’t make a home in the skies you know.
Me: (I gave him a two seconds smile and said) You asked to see me?
Pastor: Yes! So, what are you doing with all that money you’re making?
Me: (My eyebrows narrowed to a confused face. Being our first one-on-one conversation, I couldn’t tell if this was his idea of pleasantries)
Pastor: Hahaha, I know you are making a lot of money. What are you really doing with all that, now that you don’t have any responsibilities?
Me: (Do I look wealthy? Maybe this a prophesy? … I was confused but Pastor seemed to be genuinely expecting an answer to his question so I stuttered…). Actually, I, I do have responsibilities.
Pastor: You know what I mean when I say you don’t have responsibilities. You’re very smart. Do not pretend you don’t understand?
Me: Please clarify.
Pastor: I mean, a home to manage?
Me: I have a …
Pastor: A REAL home (he firmly interrupted) – as in, husband? Children?
Me: (I cracked my finger knuckles and smiled. For a moment, I wished there was a Bible verse which gave me the liberty to gently empty my water bottle on his head – Mercy!)
Pastor: So, why is it taking forever? (He continued) You’re Godfearing and hardworking. I am sure so many men are pursuing you. You must be the one chasing them away. I know your perfectionist type.
Me: Oh really?
Pastor: Yes! I have studied, written and preached on personality types so I know what I am talking about. I wonder if you even know what your temperament is.
Me: (At this point, I resigned to polite silence).
Pastor: What about your family foundation? (He asked, after an awkward moment of silence)
Me: What about that?
Pastor: Have you ever REALLY taken time to do a spiritual mapping of your family background and to pray for deliverance from generational curses? (his tone was commanding)
Me: I have.
Pastor: Hmmm….Then how come you still suffer from such “PROLONGED SINGLENESS?”
Me: Oh —wow, Pastor! (“Seriously?”)
Pastor: Let’s see …. you need to read my book on —(book title)
Me: I have read it – all your books actually.
Pastor: Really? That’s good. Did you follow the suggested prayer guidelines?
ME: YES, sowed seeds too. (yup!)
Pastor: What about this other book by … ?
Me: I have read that, and similar ones.
Pastor: Okay. Then I think what you now need is corporate [delivrance] prayers. I know a testimony filled prayer group. One sister, whose case was much worse, got married shortly after the group prayed for her. I can arrange special prayers for you and you’ll be married in no time.
Me: Pastor, I appreciate your concern (Do I?). I’d like you to know that have sought God on this matter, prayed all manner of prayers, corporately too. It’s all in His Hands now. I believe God is gracious and Sovereign. He will make all things beautiful in his time. Either way, He is still God and I am still His child. Single or married, I am complete in Christ (Col 1:20).
Pastor: Not all prayers are the same! You of all people should know that.
Me: Well, I know that God doesn’t minimize my prayers, and those of my loved ones who have and still pray for me.
Pastor: But your deliverance is still tarrying (he said, rather sarcastically).
Me: God is THE Deliverer. I will let God be God and resist the urge to automatically equate singleness to an outstanding need for deliverance.
Pastor: Hmmmm. Anyways, as the saying goes – “you can lead a horse to a river, but can’t make him drink.”
Me: That’s one way of looking at it. You could also recognize that all things work together for the good of those who love God, so that we become transformed, more and more, into the image of Christ. I’m sure you’d agree with me that marriage can be wonderful, but it’s not anyone’s ultimate life’s purpose.
Pastor: (Shrugged, paused and said) Well… I have a meeting with the other Pastors in a couple minutes.
Me: Okay, I’d leave you to it. (Was standing up to bolt out, when Pastor sought a final word…)
Pastor: One last thing, how are you?
Me: (Well, well, well, isn’t this where we should have started off?) I am good Pastor, thank you.
Pastor: No, you’re not? You’ve lost so much weight and not in a good way. You look cranky and sick.
Me: Really, I’m fine. And, no, I haven’t lost weight.
Pastor: But you look very unhealthy. Don’t forget I am also a Medical Doctor. How is your Body Mass Index?
Me: I know you are a Medical Doctor; my BMI is fine. (Uneasy pause) I should leave now, so you can join the Pastors’ meeting?
Pastor: Right. Take care of yourself. Eat well. You have enough money to eat all you want. Don’t subscribe to any weight loss program.
Me: Have a good week Pastor.
Pastor: You too. God bless you.
I hurried out of the church facility to the car and said to myself: “Breath precious child of God, breath! Give the benefit of doubt, assume best intent.”😊
Perhaps I sound controversial for declining an offer for special cooperate deliverance prayers? Something about the way that conversation unfolded failed to encourage me. I wonder what part – the subtle condescendence about my work, finances, responsibilities, presumed personality type, prolonged singleness, family foundation, quality of my prayers or physical appearance? For some reason, his zeal for my “deliverance” didn’t quite consume me. It was somewhat confusing, though not entirely unusual.
I’ve had several diagnoses and prayer prescriptions for my perceived “problem of singleness.” Some “prayer prescriptions” are out of love, knowledge and discernment; others are prejudiced, accusatory and loveless. The latter is a bitter pill that can crush one’s spirit, especially when prescribed by someone respectable. Guess what? I don’t do bitter pills and I figured that out as a toddler 🙂
God takes us through unique paths for unique purposes. Therefore, it is important to be discerning about who speaks into our lives as we navigate each curve.
Quick question though, can someone tell me why I seem to have been low key avoiding that Pastor since then? 🤷♀️😊🤷♀️
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