Eleven o’clock on a Saturday night. A 36 year old woman sits nervously reading something on her phone. You might expect that she’s checking for a message from a hot guy she met in a bar or looking through photos of herself and her friends on facebook. No. She is checking the prayers of intercession she has written for tomorrow’s service one more time before bed.
A little background. Rebelling against a casually secular upbringing, I found my way to a small methodist church of 9 members. Serving the church by contributing prayers and readings was a pleasure and seemed to be well received by others.
I became interested in the idea of preaching but was afraid to put myself forward. Surely, if that was my calling, someone would suggest – nay, insist – that I do it. It was suggested to me, however, that I would make a useful worship leader and so I went through the training. I found, though, that I did little more than I had already done as a congregant. Being a worship leader did not satisfy my craving to contribute more.
I finally spoke to the minister and he was all for it and I will be put forward to go On Note at the next meeting. If accepted, I will be able to start the training course in May and I intend to blog about it for the benefit of anyone else considering it and also to let my friends and families into a part of my life they are not currently part of.
If I am not On Note yet, why am I blogging now?
Well, I take you back to my opening paragraph. Something that I would normally do quite confidently – preparing part of the service – is now causing me great anguish. In my head, every contribution I make suddenly becomes an audition for the role of local preacher. This newfound fear is based on absolutely nothing and yet I find myself agonising between which of two equally suitable words to use in tomorrow’s prayer.
I went about it the usual way. I prayed for guidance. I checked the readings for key words and themes. I wrote a draft. Read it aloud. Rewrote it. Read it aloud again. But, instead of giving thanks and getting on with my day, I niggled. And I have been niggling away at the prayer ever since. It’s as though I imagine each service between now and starting the training will determine whether I get to on On Note or not.
One good thing, I know for certain now that becoming a local preacher really matters to me or I wouldn’t be this bothered.
Good night and God bless x