Greetings! Glad you’re joining me today, as we begin a new year! Grab that tea and a comfy spot, and I want to talk about the ‘Chicken Line’. No, I’m not talking about the line at the buffet or the church dinner, lol. I’m talking about the ‘line in the sand’ that keeps us from talking to people about something, particularly our faith. Or keeps us from offering to pray for them when they’re going through something. Or may even keep us from saying grace over a meal outside our own homes.
The term ‘Chicken Line’ was first introduced to me at a class called “Firestarters”. It was a wonderful time of learning to step out and be bold with my faith. I know that may seem hard to believe, if you’ve been reading along. But it’s true. I needed to get comfortable sharing God’s grace and mercy with other people outside the four walls of the church.
We began the class by practicing on each other. Have you ever had that thought come into your head that would help someone, if only you had the courage to share it? Ever seen someone you knew could use a prayer or two, but were afraid to approach them? Yeah, we are all like that. So, we began to practice those things in the class.
Then something different began to happen – at work, of all places. I work in a very small office – only two of us are often in there, and I’m alone a lot. We don’t get a lot of visitors. Honestly, I believed there would be no way I could pray for specific things for people at work. Then one day, a gentleman came in whom I’d seen exactly one other time in eight years. He was pretty distraught over losing his mom. Having recently been through all that myself, I was able to share with him and pray for him. His taking a seat near my desk, as tears filled his eyes, was a pretty solid clue that I could approach him to ask if I could pray for him.
Once, I ended up bunking at the home of a member of a hobby group. During the evening, we had several hours to visit. Hearing some concern for a family member, I boldly shared my story of overcoming addictions with the help of God. They told me the next morning that I gave them lots of hope. And while they weren’t receptive to prayer right then, I ended up praying extensively at home, and we did see what I believe was a miraculous answer to prayer about a week later.
We’re all in a position to pray for families and co-workers, mostly behind the scenes, sometimes more directly. I’ve been given the opportunity to pray for parents, kids, relatives, bosses; I’ve been able to pray for folks with cancers, Alzheimer’s, bereavements, empty nesting, all sorts of things. People just ‘mysteriously’ land in my office or on a phone call. But I have to be bold and step out, and offer to speak on a more personal level. Yes, I have to be judicious, and need some sort of connection with them. Often, I pray later, but always check back to see how folks are doing. This has led to some interesting and wonderful conversations.
When was the last time you offered to pray for your pastor, on the spot, after a sermon where he shared that he needed your prayers? Or your boss? Or anyone, for that matter? We’ve fallen to the notion that anything ‘religious’ needs to be kept inside the four walls of the church buildings. Not true! Jesus didn’t hide inside the synagogue – He went where the people were hurting and ministered to their very real needs. When a friend is facing surgery, do you offer to pray with them? When another parent at school has a wayward child? Or when a neighbor’s marriage is in turbulent waters? Offer a cup of coffee and a listening ear, and then offer to pray with them.
Maybe you’re one of the folks who wants someone to pray for you. Stuff happens in life, and it’s not all fun. If you don’t have any friends who can pray for you, find a pastor or priest. Let them pray with you, and help you connect with others who can walk along with you in your circumstances. Trust me, they love helping folks!
Let your compassion override your reluctance this year. Then cross the chicken line, and cross it often. I’d love to hear stories of how you did, and what wonderful things happened as a result. We’ll chat again soon!