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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Mind the Store and Still Have a Ministry

Have you ever heard the idiom "Who's minding the store"? According to it means, "to attend to local or family matters, as in, "Ask Dad for permission; he's minding the store while Mom's away." If you had an important ministry to accomplish who would be minding your store in your absence?

When Elizabeth George was first saved, she was a young woman who had so much enthusiasm and wanted to do everything - attend all the Bible studies offered, clean the nursery, vacuum the church, fold the bulletins - she wanted to do it all! But a wise instructor told the young seminary wives, of which she was a part, that someone needed to stay home and "mind the store." She had two preschool girls that she needed to care for. They were instructed instead to follow the admonition in Ephesians 6:18. - Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints. God's Word came to her rescue teaching her that she could have a ministry with her prayer life. She found that she could stay home, care for her priorities at home, and still have a ministry to the Body of Christ through prayer for all the saints. She developed an elaborate system of prayer. She prayed for her family, the church, the missionaries on the others side of the world and for all the saints.

We tend to minimize the ministry of prayer. Do you think of your prayer life as a ministry? I once had a young woman - in her early 20's and a mother of young children say to me, "I would love to have a ministry speaking to ladies at retreats! I could do that!" I challenged her that while her family was at home she needed to care for their needs and make her husband and children her greatest ministry. At the same time, though, she could have a ministry - one that could touch lives all over the globe while still minding her store. But the ministry of prayer isn't a public ministry, it's a private one. My young friend wasn't really seeking a ministry, she was seeking a platform.

If we really understood that our prayers can make a difference in history, that of private lives, our church, and our country, we would have a greater burden to pray and we'd realize that it is as important (maybe more) than any public ministry that a woman could have. Prayer gives us the blessing of greater ministry.

Again, priorities come into play as we pray. We don't want to "boing"right over our own husband, children, nieces and nephews to pray for all the missionaries in the whole world! Start and pray for the person closest to you - your husband, then your children and grandchildren.

A grandmother came to Elizabeth with the news that she couldn't attend Bible study any more because it started at 9:00 in the morning. "When my first grandchild was born, I committed myself to pray ten minutes a day for him. When the second was born; ten minutes a day, the third; ten minutes a day. I now have 23 grandchildren! (You do the math!) She's praying in priority order for those closest to her, then reaching out to others after that. What a good admonition for us. Who will pray for our husband and children with the understanding and passion that we can have for them? No one!
  • Pick a time - the same thing, the same place, the same time every day. We all need that time. If this doesn't work for you, plan your time for prayer and schedule it like an appointment for that day.

  • Something is better than nothing. Do something!

  • Pick a place of serenity and solitude.

  • Make a commitment to pray!
See your opportunity to pray and make it your greatest ministry.
This lesson will be continued tomorrow.

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