That’s not the answer you expect when you toss out the standard home/visiting teaching line asking if there is anything you can do to help your teachee.
But I was thrilled to hear it. I usually detest visiting teaching because of my sense that I am not technically helping anyone but just making small talk so I can check off a box. I’m not sure which feels worse: to sit across from a sister whose problems are so wide and deep that I cannot bridge them or the sister who smiles and says, “Nothing. We’re fine. But that’s nice of you to ask.” In both cases I feel incompetent, an imposter. I’m wasting her time–and mine.
So when this sister, new to my route, said, “Well, yes, actually, there is,” I learned forward. She began to explain a situation at work: a co-worker who fit every irksome stereotype and brought out a side of her that she knew she needed to tame. And then she asked me to pray for her.
I could do that. I did that. I am doing that. I don’t know if it is helping her, but it is helping me. I do try to pray for those whom I visit, but it makes all the difference in the world to have something specific to pray about. I’m honored that she would trust me–on the first visit!–with this personal struggle and would seek my help. And I’m pleased to be of service in a way that involves communion instead of a casserole.
I’ve decided that from now on when I get tossed The Eternal Question by my own visiting teachers, I’m going to share with them something that I am struggling with and ask them to pray for me. I think the humility and honesty required in this exercise would do me some good even independent of their prayers. I also suspect that knowing they might ask me about my challenge during our next visit would motivate me when my resolve slips.