Meet Beth Richardson, managing editor of Weavings. Her article, “Questions from the Heart” is published in the current issue, “Living the Questions” (May/June/July 2015), on page 42. To order a copy, call 1.800.972.0433 or subscribe online.
This morning when I got to work, The Upper Room Prayer Line was forwarded to my phone. After I panicked for five minutes trying to figure out how to make it stop, I accepted that I would be the Accidental Prayer Volunteer from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.
Here’s what I learned:
1. Acceptance. Sometimes things just get thrown my way whether I asked for them or not. I can get all excited and throw a fit. Or I can just accept it and do the right thing. Answering the prayer line and praying with the callers was the right thing to do.
2. Openness. I was afraid about what would happen when I answered the call. So I said, “Upper Room Prayer Center. May I pray with you?” And then people started talking about what was troubling them. When I let go of my fear and had an open heart, my mind, my heart, my mouth knew what to say.
3. Prayer time with people is holy time. What an honor it was to answer the phone and pray with a complete stranger, a person who trusted The Upper Room to hear the big and small, intimate details of their lives. They had a need and they reached out. And we were there — I was there — to say a prayer for that person. We sat together and God was present there on the phone — and in Nashville, Texas, Illinois, California, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. God is present and sends God’s comfort right then and there through the voice at the other end of the telephone.
You can be a prayer volunteer. I recommend it. Learn more at the Living Prayer Center’s website.
Beth A. Richardson is a United Methodist clergy person and the managing editor of Weavings journal and Alive Now magazine, as well as Director of Creative Content for The Upper Room. A photographer and writer, she is the author of Child of the Light and The Uncluttered Heart. She is currently writing a book of Celtic-style blessings, which will be published in 2016.