God created us and knows everything about us. He knows our needs, our weariness, our fears, our insecurities, and our longings. God ministers to us through His Word. When we minister the Word of God to one another, we can do so with confidence, knowing God gave us His Word not only to reveal Himself to us, but also to care for us.
Let’s look at an example of how we can minister the Word in personal and powerful ways.
Kim, your old college roommate, calls to ask if she can meet for coffee. She sounds anxious and heavy hearted. When you meet, she pours out her heart and shares she has been struggling with debilitating shame and fear. As you sit and listen to her story you are overwhelmed first by her struggles but also honored by the privilege of journeying with her during her time of need. After an extended time of listening and drawing out her heart, you begin to help her see how God’s story redeems her story of suffering. You also remind her that God is pursuing her with His love, inviting her to experience and participate in the unceasing worship and love of Father-Son-Spirit.
The Lord Is My Shepherd
You ask her to read one of your favorite psalms, a passage God has used to comfort and strengthen you countless times throughout your life. She agrees and begins to read Psalm 23 out loud…
1The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,
3 He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me;
your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
When she reads the first verse, you notice a puzzled look on her face. Her posture changes as she reads verses 2-3. You sense a growing resolve within her as she slowly reads verses 4-5. Tears flow down her cheeks as she reads the last verse. She looks away and her eyes gaze upward as she starts to weep.
You sense the Spirit of God working in beautiful and powerful ways. You sit silently as she reflects upon what she just read. Kim tentatively makes eye contact with you. You offer her a reassuring smile.
With loving curiosity, you ask her what she experienced as she read the psalm. She admitted that she was hesitant to read the psalm since God seemed distant, leaving her apathetic toward Him and His Word. She doubted God could ever love her, given all she suffered. But as she slowly read each verse, she was overcome with emotion as she sensed God inviting her to come to Him for rest. She was surprised by the progressive comfort she experienced as God reminded her of His present and pursuing love.
You feel like you are standing on sacred ground as you witnessed the Holy Spirit work powerfully in Kim as she received God’s living Word.
A Second, More Personal, Reading…
As you sense the leading of the Spirit, you ask if you can read the psalm to her, but this time read it in such a way as if God is speaking to her as His beloved child. You explain that God’s truths and promises should be received as if He has spoken them directly to us as His people. She agrees with some hesitation, not knowing what to expect.
You give her freedom to follow along with you or to just sit back and rest, allowing God to wash her with the water of His Word. She closes her eyes with anticipation.
Before you begin reading Psalm 23, you reiterate that you, as her sister in Christ, will read the passage as if God is speaking directly to her.
Kim, I am your shepherd. I can satisfy you unlike anyone or anything else.
I want you to lie down in my green pastures. I am leading you beside quiet waters. Come and drink deeply from my fountain of living water that quenches your thirsty soul.
I am restoring your weariness and restlessness as I guide you along my righteous path, where I want you to see and experience my glory as I make you more and more beautiful in Christ with each step of faith.
I know the darkness you are facing in your shame and fear, I am with you always, my rod and staff will guide and comfort you. Even in the midst of your fears and doubts, I am pouring out my blessings over you so that your cup overflows.
My goodness and love pursues you everyday of your life. I am your God and you are my daughter. My Spirit dwells with you and you dwell with me in my love. Rest, enjoy as I delight in you.
As you spoke God’s Word over her, you incorporated some of the details of her story and some of her responses she shared as she read the passage. By doing so, you helped her to experience her God in deeply personal ways, helping her to know her God with both her head and heart.
She sits motionless for a minute, her eyes glistening with tears of joy. You ask her what she experienced as you read God’s Word over her. With her chin up, she says with a quiet confidence and an undeniable peace that she experienced God’s love as He reminded her of His constant presence and pursuit of her as His child. You both sit back relaxed, as you rest and rejoice in Christ.
Join the Conversation
What do you long to hear from God from His Word in this moment or in this season of life?