A Simple Prayer of Thanks

June 26, 2017
By Gaylyn Kelly, Director of College and Young Adult Ministry

I walked upstairs to my bedroom, a smile on my face. It had been a wonderful evening. As I began my nightly bedtime routine, I mentally replayed parts of the evening, and my smile and heart broadened.

“Thank you” is all I could manage to say as I stared at the soapy water running down the drain. Hot dogs, warm homemade blackberry cobbler, laughter, melodies, prayers, Chacos, and conversation had filled the house just 20 minutes before, and I was now experiencing a mix or solemness, awe, giddiness, and gratitude.

About 30 young adults came to our home tonight. A typical Tuesday night on Brookcliff Drive usually means a gaggle come over, and we hang out, eat, read the word, and talk about it. Tonight began with dinner, then a guitar came out, which led into prayer and reading the scriptures. We began with recapping and soon moved to discussing evangelism, persecution, apologetics, and deeply discussing the real and perceived opposition we feel when sharing the Gospel.

We were pushed to open our hearts, minds, and Bibles as we read and wrestled with 12 verses of Acts 4.

What will stay with me, I pray, long after the dishes are washed and the last car pulls away from our corner, is what we focused and prayed and sang and discussed and lingered on: “And there is salvation in NO ONE ELSE, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”  Acts 4:12  Thank you, Jesus.

That single imperative truth drives me to tears and to sorrow, to heartache and a heart that explodes in joy, to compassion and to wondering, to fighting and including.  Thank you, Jesus.

As I look into my dimly lit living room, I see shoes on an old worn beach towel near the door, Bibles and journals, pens and backpacks tucked in every corner, and on counter tops lie paper plates, cups, water bottles, Starbucks cups. All this evokes the room recently full of delightful sound and young people, some who know one another and some who somehow find us!

All of them seem to come questioning their past and questioning their future. There is a buzz of chatter when we gather, hugs, and high fives. Then the conversations peel off to things like geeking out over new technology or Nike shoes, discussing Chance the Rapper or YouTube videos, talking about a Netflix series and asking, “Wait, what happened to Otto Warmbier?” All the while, a low murmur continues about climbing places in Tennessee, “what’s next,” “text me when you can hang out,”  all with an undercurrent of love and passion for community and deep thoughts of their future relationships. They come to connect, be heard, and to be reminded that they matter. They do that for each other. Jesus does that for all of us.

The most important distinction and most vital process that occurs at Tuesday night “B stud” — a nickname they designated several years ago — is that we open the Bible, read it verse by verse, learn historical and Biblical context, discuss it, and seek to apply it to our lives right away through prayer, but mostly through challenges by the Holy Spirit and one another.

“Thank you” was all I could muster Tuesday night, and I believe it was all that was needed.   

Gaylyn Kelly, Director of College and Young Adult Ministry