Three Ways to Quietly Serve Others

Quiet Service

I’ve been spending time in John 21 lately, and not because I’m a breakfast lover.

If you read this post you know I have a lot to learn about being a servant.

My heart bends toward awe as I study the ways Jesus quietly served Peter and the other disciples on the beach that morning. Yes, food was involved but Jesus, spoken from a heart of love, also asked a question that required them to face the reality of their situation. It was actually an irritating question that all fishermen dread on slow, unproductive outings: How many fish did you catch? (my translation)

While I won’t be frying up fish for anyone (sorry!) a few other ways to quietly serve like Jesus comes to mind.

Serving others well is a desire that begins in the heart, emerges from love, and comes to fruition by the power of the Holy Spirit. Click To Tweet


How to Quietly Serve Others


Crush the Desire to Compete

Don’t get me wrong, competition on the field is a must (just ask our Clemson Tigers!) but as believers, that spirit doesn’t belong in our writing circles, church ministries, or our calling. Why? Because we’re not competing against each other. We’re on the same team, desiring the same outcome for God’s glorification, not ours. When we refuse to compete, we release (and receive) blessings that a fleshly “win” could never provide. The enemy seeks division cleverly disguised as friendly competition. Let’s not fall for it.

Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out not only for his own interests but also for the interests of others. Philippians 2:3,4


Do the Unexpected

The disciples didn’t expect someone to ask about their fishing, or to receive instructions on where to throw their net, or better yet, to find Jesus preparing breakfast for them on the shore. Jesus often did the unexpected during His time here on earth. Unexpected for the recipients, that is. (John 5:19) When we stay in tune with God, the Holy Spirit shows us opportunities to bless others in unexpected ways. Maybe it’s a phone call, a handwritten note, flowers at a doorstep, a simple hug, or a gift card to Panera Bread for a yummy breakfast (ahem, this month’s giveaway to my subscribers!)

God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. Hebrews 6:10


Practice Breath Prayers

Back in 2013, I wrote a brief post on the subject of breath prayers. Kelly Minter refers to those quick, quiet prayers breathed up to God as the pre-work of prayer. At the time, I was teaching on the subject of Nehemiah. The breath prayer we read in Nehemiah 2 is simply the natural overflow from a four-month reservoir of prayer seen in Nehemiah 1.

We pray behind-the-scenes to pave a foundation for opportunities to pray for others at a moment’s notice. Perhaps it’s coming alongside someone after church or on a lunch break and praying aloud with them. But on those days we can’t do this, we can pray a prayer so quick and so quiet that the recipient will never know the power that just shot in a heavenwardly direction on her behalf.

“Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.” Psalm 150:6



The more I think it over the more I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people. – Vincent van Gogh

Is there some way you quietly serve others? 


Befriending, Not Depending, on Breath Prayers

The king said to me, “What is it you want?”

Then I prayed to the God of heaven, and I answered the king, “If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my ancestors are buried so that I can rebuild it.” (Nehemiah 2:4,5 emphasis mine)

There it is. Cushioned between the king’s question to Nehemiah and Nehemiah’s response. A breath prayer.


A quick spoken or unspoken prayer to the God of heaven.


It’s easy to befriend to the breath prayer, and we should. “Lord, give me discernment.” “Help me know what to say, Lord.” The Father leans in for the whispers of His children.

While breath prayers are a privilege (as is all prayer), we see that Nehemiah’s breath prayer was drawn from a four-month reservoir of prayer and patience. (Neh. 1-2:2) Kelly Minter refers to this as the “prework of prayer.”

Nehemiah befriended the breath prayer but he did not depend on it as his only means of communicating with the God of heaven.


And the blessings of this dependence continue to unfold throughout our study in Nehemiah.


How will the blessings from our time with the God of heaven unfold this week? 


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