It was very subtle and gentle.
But it was there. A quiet voice telling me to ask this lady if I could pray for her.
The problem was that I was at a fast food restaurant with my son enjoying an ice cream cone and watching him play. And there were other people around. Oh, and did I mention that it was at a fast food restaurant and the gal the Lord was telling me to pray for was an employee? Yeah, all kinds of barriers.
Yet the voice remained even after the gall walked away.
That is when I remembered what God had told me last week while at the Vineyard National Conference. Twice that week – once during a worship set and once during a ministry time with Todd White and Robby Dawkins– God had told me to get back into the streets.
Years ago I had enjoyed going to counter-culture environmental and Earth day fairs and praying for folks on the side of the street. It was a blast setting up a booth offering information on how to take care of God’s creation next to nudist colonies, fortune tellers and the like. The stories that came out of those events are a testimonies to the workings of the Holy Spirit.
Sadly as the years went by I slowly got out of the habit of doing that… partly because I became engaged in pastoring a church and raising a family (both of which take time, a precious commodity), and partly – or perhaps ‘mostly’ – because I got nervous and lazy. Come on, let’s face it – praying with folks outside the church walls is scary and counter-culture. Praying for folks, our minds say, is done on Sunday mornings or, perhaps, during the weekly Bible studies and prayer meetings. You don’t do that kind of stuff at a fast food restaurant!
The gentle nudging stayed there. Only conviction increased at each passing second.
How could I, a pastor, ask folks in the church to pray for folks on the streets (which I have) if I was unwilling to do so. Hypocrite.
In the end I really only had one choice: to go find this gal and pray for her.
So I did.
And she cried.
Tears of joy and sorrow for she had a very rough day and just needed someone to love her – someone to tell her that she mattered. The details of her story don’t belong on this blog, it is enough to know that I prayed a blessing over her and her kids (she was a single mother).
The main take away was that was that God taught me a lesson.
A lesson to listen and obey. To listen while not obeying is just as bad as acting without listening. We, the follower of Jesus, need to listen to the Father and obey the promptings of the Spirit. We have to move from being scared and nervous, move from being too busy, and start, well, doing what Jesus did.