Pastor John Elmore, Jr.
The Elmores' Story of Drawing a Circle
A little over three years ago, Kay started reading the book Drawing Circles by Mark Batterson. This was and is normal around our house as Kay and I both read a lot. Little did I know how much that book would affect how Kay was praying and how it is currently impacting my own prayer life. I would like to tell you some of what God was doing as Kay was learning to draw circles of prayer and how we can look back and see God moving in our lives to bring us to St. Mark.
I don't know exactly how long, but more than a year, I had been praying that God would open a door for me to return to full time ministry. I was praying that God would provide a place for me as a Senior Pastor that would use my skill sets so we could devote all of our energies to helping the church and building the Kingdom. Kay and I also knew my time at Hospice was getting short. All the while Kay was starting to read Drawing Circles. She came to me one day and told me about how her reading was challenging her and how she should be praying. She informed me she was going to start thanking God for the ministry job He was going to provide. She was claiming two things that night. She was claiming God is faithful to fulfill His promises. She was also claiming that she knew we were following God through faithfulness to our call and mine specifically to be in full time ministry. I responded with that is fine, but I am going to continue to pray for God to open the door and that we would recognize it when it opened.
I think I was still being faithful, but Kay planted her flag and proclaimed her faith through her prayers. A few weeks later, I would hear from Pastor Carl and the process of interviewing began with St. Mark. To say the least this was a challenging time for Kay and me.
Every part of us thought we would be staying in the denomination we had always known. I remember the conversation after Carl told me he would like me to meet and interview with the SPRC. Kay and I had started to pray very hard about how and if God was telling us to become Methodist. That was not what we were expecting from our prayers. We decided to ride over to Greenwood and look at the church and get something to eat. Before we got to the church Kay said, "Can you drive around the church so we can make a circle around it and pray." We proceeded to make three trips around the church praying asking God to make this clear to us, to SPRC, and to the church body if we were to come to St. Mark. We wanted to hear from God. We wanted all of us to hear from God. So we drew a circle of prayer. Within a few weeks we were in conversations to come joint the staff at St. Mark. I know we have faced some ups and downs over the past three years, but as I look back I can still see God moving to call us to St. Mark. I am grateful that my wife was faithful enough to focus her prayer and help focus my prayers. Now I am trying to draw bigger circles praying over our St. Mark church. I am thanking Him for what He has done and what he will do as we learn to Draw Circles praying together, seeking to see God more. So pray as we move through Lent. Pray for God to move in your life. Pray for your family. Pray for the people you know or meet that don't know Jesus. Pray for God to move in our church that we might see things happen that only He could do. Don't just draw one circle, draw a lot of circles with God-sized prayers. I am looking forward to seeing what God might be about to do in and through the people of St. Mark. Keep drawing and praying.