By: Lisa Vaupel, Sunday Morning Prayer Group Leader
I’m a therapist by trade meaning I hear people’s trouble and work with them to try to repair some of the hardest parts of their lives. In many ways, I’m a fixer. It can be a messy, stressful, and draining job. Don’t get me wrong though, it can also be hugely rewarding which is why I do it.
Due to the nature of the work, I often lean on my coworkers for advice on how to take care of myself and the children and families with whom I work. Many of my coworkers aren’t Christians or they are the Christmas and Easter kind of Christians. I’m often hesitant to share much of my faith and how Christ and my church community are a support to me, but one time in the last year I found myself in a position to share a bit more.
We were all sitting around and talking about the things that “fill us up.” Since the work we do can be draining, we often focus on “self-care” and making sure we are taking care of ourselves so that we can continue to be effective therapists. I found myself sharing with my coworkers about the Sunday morning prayer group at enCompass and how it feeds me.
Early on Sunday mornings I make my way to church and some people might think, “I need that time to just stay home and rest or relax…” But me, no. I need the time to refuel. I make my way to the room where we meet to pray just after settling my boys down with Jess, Darcy and Kaitlyn. I usually have a cup of coffee because I need that too. Our group is small which is perfect for me. The faces are familiar, welcoming and loving. I know that they genuinely care about me, my family, our church, our world and our God.
What happens when we come together is truly miraculous. I often walk in a bit burdened, tired, and sometimes feeling isolated. I leave feeling heard, supported, loved, and encouraged. Each time it happens. I know I can walk in and share my latest parenting struggle or the crazy nearly unbelievable thing that has happened in my family. There won’t be judgement, only love. I can share it, I can cry (if I need to) and we will pray. I hear the burdens of others and it is an honor to sit with them in their struggle.
There is something about praying with others that is more freeing than praying by myself. First, when I pray with others I’m more focused. On my own I’m often not disciplined as much as I would like, and I struggle to keep myself on track. In the group, I slow down enough to wait for God to speak. I also am able to hear the prayers of others which often ring true with what I am sensing in my own heart and it is encouraging. My heart says, “Yes, yes God. That is the prayer I want to speak!” Other times others pray and I am challenged by their perspective. Perspective is another thing I often gain. Too often I am stuck in my own circumstances and bogged down, but this small group of prayers – with the help of the Holy Spirit – help to break me out of my circumstances and help me to really experience God.
My coworkers still don’t know or understand the depth of what I experience in our little prayer group, but someday I hope to have the opportunity to share more and more with them. I want God to use this group not just for my good, but for His. I guess it is used for his good through me because what I gain from this group allows me to continue on in my week with the energy, perspective, and freedom that I have in Christ. God is good!