1 Kings 19:4-8
Elijah was scared and running for his life. He came to a small bush, and laying down under it, he prayed that he would die. Saying “Lord, I’ve had enough. Take my life. I’m no better than the ones who have come before me.” And he fell asleep.
Suddenly, an angel touched him, waking him. The angel said, “Get up and eat”. Elijah looked around and saw hot bread and a jug of water had been placed near his head. So he ate and drank and lay down again.
Again, an angel touched him, waking him, and said, “Get up and eat. Your journey will be long and hard”. So he ate and drank. The food renewed him and gave him strength. Elijah traveled for 40 days and 40 nights.
Last night our high school youth group talked about prayer. We talked about how it is a conversation between us and God. There are no right or wrong ways to pray. The words don’t have to be “churchy”, they need to be from the heart.
We had talked in a previous night about how God doesn’t need us to pray to tell him what is going on. He already knows. But we pray anyways!
So as our youth continue to prepare for April 19, the day they will lead worship, we broke down the prayers of intercession last night. It was just another Wednesday night.
But, WAIT! It was so much more than just another Wednesday night.
I sat back and watched as youth who didn’t really know each other 7 months ago, were laughing with each other.
I saw youth who 4 months ago would never have spoken up or thought about speaking in church, talk about which pieces of worship they were excited about leading on April 19.
I saw youth welcome and care for a little sister that didn’t want to leave with her dad.
I laughed with youth over silly “would you rather” questions.
I listened as the youth felt they could talk candidly with the leaders in the room.
I smiled when a parent brought Shamrock Shakes for everyone as a treat.
I was excited to set up appointments for coffee, lunches, ice cream and more with the youth who will not be going away for Spring Break.
I heard a youth share struggles and joys of living with a “complex brain disorder”.
I saw a youth group surround a youth with prayer and love.
I heard a youth who has just recently come back to church after many years away, share how God has been active in his life.
I prayed, giving thanks that these youth are so open and honest and willing to share.
I prayed that God would hold each one of them close and remind them that even though this group will be apart, they have each other to lean on.
No, this was not just another Wednesday night. This was a night that an angel of the Lord has set beside me, given as food to give strength for the journey, so that I can go on for another 40 days and 40 nights.
What is the food God has sent for you? What can you cling to in the weeks ahead on the journey for strength when times are rough?