A couple of weeks ago, I had the privilege of offering the benediction prayer for a Teen Challenge Banquet in Youngstown, Ohio. I was asked to do this because the Executive Director, Pastor Roy Barnett is a member of the church I pastor.
There's always a little extra stress when you are praying in that situation. I know I'm just talking to God (by just, I don't mean like it's no big deal, I mean that He is really my sole audience), but just being honest with you - it sometimes feels like you're being judged! Perhaps it's all in my head ... but, I don't think so.
Anyways, I just did what I do - ultimately trying to lead the audience in prayer and ignoring the pressure to try and impress - and partly, I was just relieved to be done and hopeful I met Pastor Barnett's expectations.
Then, he unknowingly gave me the greatest compliment anyone could ever give me as a pastor - I overheard him telling someone at his table 'That's my pastor'. Wow. That he would want the world (or at least his friend) to be identified with me told me he was pleased with my prayer, but wayyyyy more than that, he wanted others to know we are in relationship.
It's much the same way for all of us when it comes to talking about God. He does so much for us every single day, and all He wants is for us to acknowledge our relationship with Him, 'That's my God'!
In that one moment that Pastor Roy said what he did of me, I understood how great it must feel for God for us to acknowledge publicly our relationship with Him.