I hope you’re enjoying your holidays this year and not just going through the motions. Last Sunday our pastor made the comment, “don’t just do Christmas. Live Christmas.” So how do you do that? I’m suggesting one way….read below!
It will be an entirely different way to eat at a restaurant.
A former Baptist pastor by the name of Reggie MacNeal and his Christian Community had a fondness for Starbucks coffee. And if they stopped at a Starbucks as they went about their daily activities they decided to act on a God given thought of praying for whoever prepared their order. Their objective was to tell the server, this stranger, what they were going to do … even if he did not exhibit a need … and then to even step out of their boat further and get more personal … and ask him … if there was anything in particular they could pray about for him.
(This story comes from my dad)
So ….. what are the opportunities a restaurant offers you that very few other places do? …………. The answer …… is a captive audience…… Let me explain. Even though sometimes we might not think our server heard what we said ….. it is their job to listen to us. ……… and to keep coming back to us. Our server……. for the time we spend at their table ……is captive to us. ………………. And it is even in their best interest to be kind to us. …. And so what exactly did Reggie teach me to do with this captive audience…….ASK MY SERVER IF I COULD PRAY FOR THEM!!!
Let me tell you what can happen when you ask a server at a restaurant if you can pray for them … and for what!
- My wife and I were in Cincinnati one day, and when we asked our waitress, whose name is Becky, if we could pray for her … and if she had any requests … she just froze … we didn’t know what to think … and then she burst into tears. It seems her family had just recently buried a nephew who died of cancer. We wept with her, hugged a total stranger and were fed by heavenly food from God that evening … before our meal was even ordered.
- About two months ago our waitress confessed she wasn’t a bad girl but after her church had given her a car because she was a single mother and needed transportation, she had been caught speeding and lost the car. She asked us to pray for her to “not screw up again”
- Various mothers have asked us to pray for their sons or in-laws serving our country in Iraq or Afghanistan.
- Only one has said no. We asked her if we could buy her a Bible and she said she had one. So please pray for Mary at Big Boy in Perrysburg, Ohio to be further watered and fed so someday she opens it and she also is fed.
- And then there was Kelly. When dad and I sat down I told myself to not forget to ask her if we could pray for her. So after we ordered I asked her. We’ve had Kelly as our waitress before so I didn’t need to tell her we were going to ask God to bless our meal and if we could also pray for her, she knew the routine. ….. Well … Kelly looked like she wanted to say something but ….. she walked away; a second later I felt a hand on my shoulder, it was Kelly. She said, “I need you to pray for me to put God in control of my life!” Whoa …. I was a little stunned. Usually I get requests about school … or a surgery for a loved one … or maybe a job for someone they know. And sometimes the server is just trying to be nice and get on with their job, and has no specific requests ………Kelly’s request surprised me. So after she left, dad and I said our prayer …. which we usually do before the food arrives. Then as soon as we were finished praying she was back again and asked me to also pray, “that her old man would get a job. He’s been off work for a year and I’ve been working two jobs.” Wow! ……. Shortly after that day I gave Kelly a copy of one of my pastor’s sermons. The theme was F R O G ….. FULLY RELY ON GOD! Amazing coincidence isn’t it that God gave my pastor, the words for a sermon specifically about what Kelly requested we pray for. This God we worship is just is awesome!!!!! ……. Or ….. was it …… just a coincidence? ……………Oh, by the way …….. a week or so later … Kelly told me her “old man” got a job.
- And just recently Dad and I sat down at a table at Bob Evans and our server Chris walked up … and she was down-right rude to us because before she even asked us what we wanted to eat …. she told us ……. She didn’t ask ….….. she told us what she wanted us to pray for!
I have not once … carried my Bible into a restaurant …. cleared off a table … jumped up and started preaching. …….. I have not once asked a server about their faith … or even if they go to church! …………. But do you know what I am doing …….…… I’m evangelizing …. I’m planting seeds …… I’m not asking them to believe in Jesus ….. I’m just witnessing …. Who know’s ……. maybe this server …….. never before …….. even had someone pray for them …..
SO YOU READY TO STEP OUT OF THE BOAT?
WHAT EXACTLY DO WE SAY?
- Very simply, after our server has taken the food order ….
- We ask them what their name is, in case we can’t read it on their name tag
- We call them by name ….. and tell them we are going to ask God to bless our meal
- And then we ask if we can pray for them.
- I usually then wait for them to say yes and then ask if they have any requests.
Simply … just those words; nothing more.
***You know what … you don’t even have to worry about being asked any questions you may feel inadequate in answering ….. and why do I say this …. because even though they are captive to us ………..…. they’re still working. They do not have time to be involved in a long discussion. So, while they’re working ….. we’re merely showing the Love of Jesus in a tangible way …… by being concerned about our server ……. by asking if we can pray for them.
Not all of the servers will give you a specific request. But don’t be disappointed. Believe me …….. you are still furthering the kingdom and ….. you’re on the field.
Depending on the request of your server, the amount you tip may be greater than you‘ve ever tipped before.
Your personal walk with the Lord will be closer when you step out of your comfort zone and ask your server if you can pray for them!!!