We had a wonderful weekend during our church retreat at the Taconic Retreat and Conference Center in Milan, New York. I can tell you about all the great fellowship and sharing, the great music and singing. I can tell you about the picturesque autumn scenery and the great fall weather. I love it every year and look forward to spending time with our brothers and sisters away from home…away from the hustle and bustle of every day life. Its great to be able to share meals together, take walks, play games, search the Scripture and pray outside the four walls of the church building. There are so many sights and sounds of a Church Family Retreat, some that are captured in photographs and videos, most that are not. Of all the sights and sounds that I was blessed to experience this weekend, one in particular stood out to me.
My wife Susan, with the help of several people, set up a contemplative prayer room. In the room there were several prayer areas, inviting people to participate in various contemplative prayer exercises. It was quiet, dimly lit and reverent. When you walked into the room you knew this was a very special place of prayer. Early on Sunday morning I was leaving the prayer room when Kevin Lucas passed me on the steps. As many people know, Kevin is a 38 year old man with Downs Syndrome. But what defines Kevin, probably more than anything else, is that he is a man of prayer. A prayer warrior. Kevin’s prayer life puts mine to shame. Kevin walked into the prayer room that was presently unoccupied. Something told me to stop and listen, so I waited on the steps and quietly waited. I knew what I was listening for. I was waiting to hear the sound of the stone dropping into the “Answered Prayer” glass container. Three years ago, we began a new tradition in our church. Every Sunday we set up a jar with a basket full of stones along side of it. Each Sunday people are invited to drop a stone into the jar; the stone represents an answer to prayer. Each retreat we start a new jar. I was listening to hear a stone drop into the jar, because, even though there were 8 different stations that Kevin could go to, I knew that before anything else, he would want to thank God for answered prayer. Within 20 seconds of entering the room…I heard that beautiful, wonderful sound of a stone dropping into the glass jar, clanging against the glass, toppling on the other stones that were already in there. Kevin dropped his stone into the “answered Prayer” jar. It was one of the most beautiful sounds I heard all weekend! Kevin believes in prayer and he believes in the God who answers prayer. And he wouldn’t miss an opportunity to pray, to praise and to thank God for His faithfulness to us.
The jar, and the stones, are just a symbol of answered prayer. If we were to drop a stone in for every answer to prayer there would not be enough jars to hold all the stones. But of all the sounds and tones and beats that bring joy to our listening ears, there is none sweeter, or more inspiring, than the sound of answered prayer.
What do you think?