By: Christa Meland
When First United Methodist Church in Worthington was going through the Healthy Church Initiative, leaders heard an interesting suggestion from a speaker talking about how to engage with the community: When you go out to eat, tell the waiter or waitress that you’ll be praying over your meal—and ask if there’s anything they’d like you to pray for.
Longtime member and Lay Leader Chuck Moser took the idea to heart and started incorporating this practice each time he and his wife visited a restaurant.
“It’s kind of scary at first—talking to a stranger and telling that person you’re going to pray for them,” said Moser. “You just open yourself up 100 percent. And you don’t know what they’re going to say or do, but I felt that God was telling me I should try this.”
And Moser quickly discovered that most people were touched and grateful to be asked how he could pray for them. One time, a waitress said her family had just left after visiting for the weekend—and could Moser pray for their safe arrival home? Another time, a waitress asked for him to pray for a family member who was ill.
These experiences prompted Moser to suggest that his church’s United Methodist Men’s group incorporate this practice into their weekly breakfast gatherings at the local Blue Line Truck Stop. So they did—and almost every time, their regular waitress Sharon shared a request that they incorporated into their morning prayer.
At one breakfast late last year, Sharon told some men at the end of the table that her car had broken down, and she was worried about coming up with the money to fix it.
“We told her we would include her need in our morning prayer—and we did,” said Moser. “But when she left with our orders, we felt God leading us to do something more.”
When Sharon returned to the table, the group told her they wanted to help. First, they would have a mechanic from their church inspect her car—and then they would write a $500 check, either to the mechanic to be put toward repairs, or to a car dealer to be put toward another vehicle.
By that afternoon, when a couple of the men returned to Sharon, they had received an anonymous $500, bringing the total amount that they could give Sharon to $1,000. The mechanic, who charged nothing, determined that Sharon’s car—with more than 250,000 miles—was not worth fixing. But the men told Sharon that they were going to give her $1,000 toward the purchase of another vehicle.
Sharon was deeply touched and tearfully asked, “Why would you guys do this for me?”
For the men of First United Methodist Church, the answer was simple: They were doing what God had called them to do.
By becoming more sensitive to the movement of the Holy Spirit through prayer, they shared God's love in a tangible way and changed Sharon’s life. The next time they gathered for breakfast at the truck stop, she showed them the vehicle she'd been able to purchase because of their generosity.
“We knew that God was asking us to do it,” Moser said. “It was the right thing to do.”
Christa Meland is director of communications for the Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church