For this story you'll first need to know that my mother was in the hospital, seriously ill.
At the end of each Sunday's service, people are regularly invited to come to the altar to pray. And this Sunday was no different. So when this person came forward, he did so in the company of others. However this was a little different, because for several years our church had prayed this particular man through a series of legal issues that left him a convicted felon.
Sadly, he still wears his shame; and its weight makes him stoop and look far older than his years. Once very active in church, after his release it took many months of reassurance from many people that we wanted him to come back--as far as we were concerned, God had forgiven him as had those of us at church.
Then my husband signaled me that this person wanted me to pray for him. So I left the choir loft and walked to where he knelt, wondering why me. No one had ever asked me to come forward to pray. But I was glad he came forward and thought perhaps I could help him. However, imagine my surprise, when--while still kneeling--he said he wanted to pray for me and my mother.
So there we were--him still kneeling and me, standing over him with my hand on his head. And there he prayed for me. He had come to help me and my Mom. Time stood still and I'm really not sure what all he said, as I cried and felt the presence of God surround us.
Afterward, I stepped outside to regain my composure. What a lesson in humility. What confronted me was that in my pride, even with good intentions, I went to help him, instead of seeking to be a vessel of God's grace. But grace was poured out on us both.
When I retook my seat in the choir, someone thanked me because they had been praying for him too. What else could I say? "No, he prayed for me and my mother. Through him God helped me."