To serve others with something also includes the matter of praying for others. A sister may realize that there are four younger sisters who need someone to serve them by praying for them, without talking to them, without letting them know she is praying for them. She simply needs to serve them with her prayer, with her intercession, even interceding for them desperately. That prayer is also a kind of serving.
In Shanghai the elderly sisters served in this way. They prayed very much not only for the young sisters but also for so many brothers. For example, a number of times one of the brothers stood up in the meeting and said something which he should not have said. Those serving sisters did not talk, but they picked up the burden to go home and pray for that brother, to serve that brother with their prayer. After a certain period of time, that brother testified how the Lord had turned him. The prayer of the sisters was a serving of the brother that gave the Lord a way to do something.
Those serving sisters also realized that a number of the younger ones needed to be served by their prayers for their marriages. In some cases, all of them were working together praying for one brother’s marriage. That is the serving.
A number of times the sisters invited some for whom they were praying to dinner. During the mealtime there would be no idle word, no gossiping, no vain talks about certain points, and no vain talking about the church affairs, but there would be a serving that would cause these younger ones to be edified. Today there is too much vain talk about the church affairs, but not much serving. All the vain talk about so many points, all the vain talk about others, is just gossip in the eyes of God, and it wastes your time. The sisters must be the serving ones and must learn to serve.
In order to serve, first you have to stop talking. You have to learn what not to talk about, or to be simple, learn not to talk. Yet you need to fellowship one with another with a serving spirit. If you do have such a serving spirit with such a burden, day and night you will be more than occupied. So many brothers need your serving. They need you to pray for them. So many sisters need your serving. And the elders need your serving. The work, the ministry, needs your serving.
If the sisters mean business with the Lord, they have many things to do in the way of serving. Such a fellowship would surely cause something to rise up within all of you to be the serving ones. You have to labor, you have to serve, and you have to be the good patronesses. And all of this must be done in the church and for the church.
Out of such a fellowship I do believe the Lord would burden all of the sisters, and that He would open your eyes to see how many things need to be taken care of by your serving.
The best way to serve is to pray. In the home of the Mary in Acts 12 there was a prayer meeting to pray for Peter, who was imprisoned. The Scripture does not mention the other homes of the prayer. The prayer meeting in Mary’s home was a serving.
When you sisters see a need in the church life, you must not talk, but bear the burden to pray. When you see that there is a need for a real broken life, you must not talk. You have to bear the burden with four or five, eight or ten, coming together to pray to serve this purpose. Pray for the real broken life.
When you see that a brother becomes a problem to the church, or that a sister has some problem in her life, don’t talk. Pick up the burden to pray with two or three others to serve this purpose. If you would be like this, many of you would be today’s Phoebes. Then the church will have the best serving.
We all have to learn to serve the church and serve the saints like the sister Phoebe that Paul recommended in Romans 16. This should be the burden of the sisters, and they do have the position to serve in this way. What the sisters can do if they pick up this burden and are faithful to the Lord in it is something that the brothers cannot do. The need is so great with the sisters. May the Holy Spirit interpret these words to us.
(Serving Sisters in the Church Life, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)