Last month one of my greatest supporters left this world and crossed over into the next. Reuel Hemphill was just shy of her 100th birthday.
“Miss Reuel”, as most of us called her, belonged to one church her entire life, the First Baptist Church of Fulton, Kentucky. She began teaching a Sunday School class at age 16 and continued to teach for 70 years!
When I arrived as the new senior pastor of FBC Miss Reuel had been on staff with the church as Assistant to the Pastor for 36 years. She decided to retire during my first month and I begged her not to. She gave me 6 more months which I treasured. More than a wealth of knowledge about my job and the general state of every member in the church (over 800 of them), Miss Reuel loved God and loved people better than anyone I had ever seen.
Miss Reuel’s daughter found a hand written document that was her personal prayer list for her pastor. She prayed these things for every pastor she had for the past several decades. I now understand more clearly why I saw so many of God’s blessings while serving as her pastor.
Here’s the list:
1. Pray that God will protect your pastor spiritually.
2. Pray that your pastor will be empowered by the Holy Spirit.
3. Pray that your pastor will know God’s will and do it.
4. Pray that your pastor will make personal devotions and quiet time a priority.
5. Pray that your pastor will resist temptation.
6. Pray that your pastor’s ministry will be Christ-centered.
7. Pray that your pastor will be concerned for the lost.
8. Pray that your pastor will have a compassionate heart.
9. Pray that your pastor will handle appreciation well.
10. Pray that your pastor will give glory to God.
Occasionally Miss Reuel would lean over toward me with her eyes glancing around to make sure no one was close by to overhear and she would whisper, “Now don’t tell anyone but you are my favorite pastor.” Somehow I believe that every pastor she had was her favorite at the time he served FBC. I still learn from her as I remember and reflect on her life.
I look forward to seeing her again someday when I cross over. Great is her reward in heaven.