This morning was my final day as the interim pastor of Bethany Baptist Church in Louisville, KY. I have served this fine church for about 10 months. Bethany has been a wonderful church to love and be loved by. As an extension of their love, they presented me with a gift this morning to say thank you. Something I have been looking for for over 10 years.
They gave me this prayer bench.
Back when we were in seminary in Fort Worth, our chapel had prayer benches down at the front of the auditorium. I loved seeing students down there praying after a sermon and using the prayer benches to call out to God. Even between classes, I would sometimes sneak into the chapel and spend some time talking with God on one of those benches.
Then later I was talking with one of my professors and saw they had a very old prayer bench in their office. This particular bench had been taken from an old Catholic church and the kneeler was all worn out. I desperately wanted a bench that had been used by other brothers and sisters in Christ, who were laboring in prayer.
So for years, Jennifer and I went to antique stores, church sales, yard sales, and searched online for a prayer bench. But never found one. I asked an antique dealer one time if he ever got any prayer benches in. His answer was “yeah, we get them. But we sell them the second we put them on the floor.” In many ways, I had kinda given up hope.
But then today, as the interim search committee was pulling out something to present, my heart began to break. They unveiled this brand new prayer bench built specifically for me. I was overwhelmed to tears. The kneeler is maroon to support Campbellsville University. It has a cross on each side, a little slot to put a Bible or journal, and a placard on top reminding me of Bethany.
I can’t say thank you enough to the people of Bethany for this gift. They only way I can repay you for this gracious gift is to put it to good use. And every time I kneel before the Lord, I will remember you always in my prayers (Phil. 1:3). Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I love it with all my heart. This means more than you will ever know.