Before you get into the visitation room you have to sit outside the prison visiting offices and wait for them to call a number that you have on your visiting slip. There are benches and picnic tables for you to sit at while you wait. I sat down and listened for my number to be called.
As I sat there I began thinking about what we call "living a lifestyle of worship". I talk about this with my Christian friends and we agree that we shouldn't just worship while we are in church but that we should experience Gods presence in our everyday lives. The theory is that when we experience God in our everyday lives that this will somehow minister to those around us. Not that we are trying to preach at every chance, but that when we focus on loving God that somehow this can affect people around us without us even trying. Ministry would be a natural outflow of our relationship with God.
To be honest I was having a hard time with this. I haven't been "feeling it" lately. It kind of felt like it was just another cute Christian saying that we throw around to make ourselves feel better. But I wanted to believe it, I wanted it to be true. I just didn't feel like it had been true in my life, at least lately.
In this outdoor waiting area I sat there and prayed silently. It was a beautiful sunny day and as I was praying I looked around at the hills and the trees and the clouds that were floating above me. I had an incredible sense of God's presence as I talked to Him and enjoyed the beauty of His creation.
It was a beautiful sensation, I could feel His presence. I remember looking over towards the prison and seeing a small bird behind the gates with barbed wire. The bird hopped around a bit and then took off, flying past the gates and into the sky. I watched the bird until I couldn't see it anymore. As I was watching this and praying silently a song came to mind.
Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.
I sing because I'm happy,
I sing because I'm free,
His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.
I began quietly humming this song to myself as I watched the bird fly past the prison gates. This felt like worship to me, just me and God, spending some time together. As I sat there in silence the woman who had been sitting next to me said out loud, "His eye is on the sparrow... and I know He's watching over me." I hadn't realized that anyone could hear me. I was actually a little embarrassed. I smiled at her and said, "He does indeed." Then she leaned over and said, "Thank you. That was God's confirmation for me today." I just smiled at her and nodded.
The thing that amazed me when I though about this later in the day was that this just seemed so natural. It wasn't spooky, or weird, it just seemed so natural, like it was supposed to be that way. I was just enjoying God's presence, worshiping Him in my everyday life, and somehow it ministered to someone else without me even trying. This is what living a lifestyle of worship is all about.
I think the key to finding this "place" of worship is actively looking for it. We need to quiet the busyness, the frantic pace, and the noise that surrounds us and look for God in our everyday life. I believe that when we do this we will find Him in the most unlikely places.