Revelations: Stepping out of the aisle
It takes gumption and humility to step out alone on faith.
That's what I always think when I watch people at church, stepping out of the pews and going down to the altar for prayer.
Sometimes, it's one or two lonely, penitent faces quietly moving from the center bench to the aisle.
Other times, it's hordes making their way toward the nearest prayer circle.
I've always wanted to be one of these people.
In all the times I've been to church, I've never had the courage to step out for an altar call.
It's not because I don't pray or because I don't like to pray with others or because I don't believe in the power of corporate prayer - I do.
I simply lack the courage it requires to step out on faith, ignore that people are watching me and wondering what my penitent face is all about and walk down the aisle.
And then, there's always that nagging voice in my head, "Don't go up there if you're not genuinely seeking to be in a place of submission and humility," two of my grandest personality flaws.
But the other night, at a church service in Victoria, I was reminded how sweet it can be to step forward on faith.
During an altar call at The Master's House, Pastor Amy Rendon let the congregation know she was feeling moved to pray for someone in the room.
No one went forward.
A few stalled moments later, she asked again, "It's OK, just come forward if you feel you might need someone to pray with you tonight."
No one went forward.
I thought of myself. I thought of all the years I've never been forward and all the opportunities I've missed to have someone pray over me. I thought of all the revelations and blessings and moments of peace I would have experienced earlier if I attempted to let others help me walk this spiritual journey with me.
As I considered all the faces in the room and wondered if they were like me, too afraid to step forward or simply didn't feel the need to have hands laid upon them, one woman finally stepped out.
She stepped out alone and made her way to the nearest prayer circle.
Once again, from the side of the room I thought, that takes gumption and humility to step out alone on faith.
I hope one day I can be her.
Jennifer Preyss is the faith editor for the Victoria Advocate. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @jenniferpreyss.