Conferences are always an interesting experience for me, even more so now that I’m attending as an exhibitor. They’re a chance to hang out with people I rarely get to see and to learn how God is at work in churches around America and beyond.
This past week, I was in Minneapolis for the Bethlehem Conference for Pastors. While there, I was speaking with a pastor about our respective ministries and lives, which includes the immigrant experience. As we spoke, I mentioned that one of the big concerns I’ve got is the visa renewal and status adjustment process. I’m on a temporary work visa here, which means that there is an expiry date coming. With that comes a number of questions, including:
- Do we want to stay? Do my employers want me to?
- What are our options for adjusting our status?
- Will we even be approved after we figure out what to do?
This man understood, without needing any specific examples. He had been through it himself. So, he did the most important thing he could: he asked if we could pray together.
So we did. Right there, in the exhibit hall, at my booth.
And it was great. It might have been my favorite moment of the entire four days, in fact. It was another reminder of how important it is for God’s people to pray together. Personal, private prayer matters, without question. It is where the majority of our prayer life should be spent. When we pray, we come in praise and adoration, we are often holding out a need, and we are trusting him for the results.
But when we pray with someone else, it says something additional: that we are not alone in this. We are not carrying our burdens alone, but others will bear them with us (Galatians 6:2). Praying with a fellow believer, even one who we may not know well (or hardly at all), says, “In Christ, we are family.” That is a beautiful thing—it is a wonderful gift. I’m thankful I was reminded of this in a quiet moment in an exhibit hall. May the Lord give you an opportunity to be reminded of it as well.