Do you read footnotes? What about prefaces? Introductions? Endnotes? My guess is less than half of us do. I wonder if they are there more for the author than the audience. There is so much that is left on the cutting floor when one assembles a book, a movie, a message. I guess that’s also why they have outtakes, extended versions and epilogues.
Having had the privilege of just sharing a message on prayer, there are some gems on my cutting floor that I can pick up and share here. One is under the category of: “prayer is first caught than taught,” and therefore how wise it is for your own soul to gather with others who pray.
There is a group of men that have been meeting in Chip Grange’s living room most every Saturday morning, for almost 40 years. Forty years! What strikes me even more about this group is that this meeting was never ‘mandated’ by anyone, and almost never promoted. And yet guys keep showing up! In the past ten years that group has become more ecumenical, every Saturday several churches are represented. And pre-Zoom/COVID some guys would drive upwards of 45 minutes to attend a 7 am Saturday meeting. Why?
I moved next to Chip in 1996. Our kids connected the first year as both our houses shared a joint backyard with several other houses that was the center of activity for the neighborhood. I knew of Chip and Kathy, but in the busyness of life did not know them - until the year 2000. And that providential meeting was held not in our neighborhood, but in an airport in Dallas, Texas.
Chip and I were both headed to a youth mission trip in Juarez, Mexico with our teens. Having some time on our hands at the layover airport, we were perusing shops and came upon a Fossil Watch store. Both of us had a strong interest in Fossil watches at the time, and were drilling the salesperson on the features, styles, and warranties. We both ended up with an interest in the same watch.
Always ready to bargain I asked - “So, will you give us a discount if we buy two?” American retailers are so boring. “I can’t,” of course was the answer. That’s ok, I was sold, and pulled out my Visa. Chip quickly intervened and said, “No, I’m paying for both of these.” “No way!” I said. After all, this was not a Walmart watch. For me at the time this was a significant expense, one that I was hesitant in making.
Chip’s response changed my life: “No, I will pay under one condition. Every time you look at the watch, pray for me.” Deal! And I pretty well kept that condition for quite some time.
But he also invited me to the Saturday morning prayer group which I was only vaguely aware of from the cars parked in front of his house every Saturday morning. When we returned from Mexico I started attending, and have now done so for twenty years.
Now group prayer is not always pretty. After all, it’s made up of people... with different desires, objectives, giftings and needs. It was a refining process for my immature, critical heart. “He’s praying too fast, too slow, too quiet, too loud.”
Chip wisely devoted the first 45 minutes to connecting, sharing prayer needs, answers to prayer, or just how the week went. I remember real wrestling of heart some mornings as one individual or another took the whole 45 minutes detailing their situation... so I didn’t get to share Mine!
But Chip has this incredible gift to see grace in every person, and could take the most volatile situation and share a God-oriented perspective that would reorient us to prayer. Over the years I have been gradually discipled in the same... discipled in love.
And that reminds me of a thought I had left on the cutting room floor, a thought that came to me after a time of Zoom prayer with the men Saturday morning. “Prayer often runs best on the rails of love.”
Why do the men come week after week, early on a Saturday morning. I am sure there are many reasons, but primary among them is the love of God that they encounter, from the Spirit and from other believers. Thank you Chip and Kathy, for leaving such a legacy for so many.