I grew up seeing God reach down into the pews during services, grab hold of someone, and propel them to the altar. That’s basically what happens during altar calls. Maybe nothing in the sermon grabbed me, but come time for the altar call, I would discover that God was, indeed, at work. Someone would get out of a pew and walk to the altar, sometimes with tears. Every once in a while, I made the trek for a need in my own life.
I miss that. Churches shy away from altar calls nowadays, because it’s not considered visitor-friendly or culturally-sensitive or whatever. Maybe God is still moving, but I don’t see it. And I miss that. As I’ve already said.
Yesterday, we had an altar call–not for salvation, but for other needs. Six people came up while the worship team played “Breathe.” Two young women, probably in their late 30s, knelt down just in front of where I was playing the keyboard. Both were in tears. One elder fellow in the church talked and prayed with one of the ladies, but nobody came to pray with the other one. So I left the keyboard and knelt down in front of her. I didn’t know her very well, but she poured out some deep hurts, relationship things. And I prayed with her, feeling totally inadequate to provide any real counsel. Relationships can be so complicated. They defy simple answers, so I didn’t try to provide any. My prayer just affirmed her and asked for guidance and wisdom for her.
The other lady, and the man counseling her, finished up. But I knelt down with her quickly, asking if she was okay. This was someone I didn’t know at all. She poured out her story quickly. Another women with deep hurts. More relationship things. Issues beyond her control.
I had grown up seeing people like this come to the altar, and seeing them kneel with the pastor or a mature Christian to talk and pray. Now I got a good glimpse of what some of those altar-call needs were all about.
I’ve been thinking about those two ladies all day, and the depth of their pain. Can’t get them off my mind.Leave a comment