Praying for people isn’t a lost art. In fact, it’s not lost, nor is it an art; it’s simply a normal part of life for any Jesus follower.
Thus, I’ve been asking the Lord lately to guide me to specific people to pray for. I’ve asked Him to highlight certain people as I’m out about buying food, walking on the streets, and making my way home. This makes for sometimes inconvenient stops, but I have to remind myself that the point isn’t always for me to get home to sleep. The point is for me to love people well.
The other day, I was frustrated, because I felt like I was obeying the Lord and being faithful in the small things but was not reaping reward. I felt spiritually, bored and discouraged, because my heart’s desire was to meet people of a specific people group and have us encounter the Lord together. This hadn’t been happening, and I was beginning to doubt that I was seeking the Lord rightly about this matter.
As I was trying to process with the Lord through writing, reading, and praying, a woman walked into the room. (This is a pretty common event here as there are about 12 of us in the same living accommodation). I’d never met her before and she was only staying here for a few days (also a common occurrence), but she mentioned she was going to a place of prayer that went straight through a community where I’d been wanting to go and which was specific to what I was speaking to the Lord about.
I asked the Lord if this was a divine encounter and “knocked” on the opportunity by asking her if I could join. Grateful for a companion, she took me along, happy to journey the 20-30 minute walk with a new friend! Eating bread and grapes on the way, I joyfully took in the scenery having much greater understanding of the importance of shade. Though it’s not my style in the least, I would’ve gone to the grave in a big ol’ straw hat that day. The heat was INTENSE!
From the looks of it, we’d drawn a big circle on the map with our footsteps, but whatever the case, we had arrived and I was under a roof. Hallelujah! Here, we simply partnered with the Lord’s heart with our brothers and sisters as we worshiped Him. A few hours the later, the sun was past climax yet still emanated heat waves. Trying to ignore my own lack of ‘peachy rose fragrance’, I worshiped the Lord on the trek back.
Not thinking about my earlier prayer for the Lord to highlight specific people to pray for, I looked up and there was a woman (Jewish) with a pink head scarf. I knew the Lord was highlighting her, thus I prayed for her quietly in mind. “That will do. Thank, Lord. It’s a blessing to pray for your people.” I looked up again. She was still 100 yards in front of us and was being highlighted. “Lord? Really? I bless her …she is yours. I pray You heal her and pour out Your blessing on her. Amen.”
This did not do. She was still highlighted to me. I had compassion on her. I knew the Lord was highlighting her to me. I could see her pink headscarf as we got closer and closer. She had a wobble in her walk indicating a probable hip/back pain. In that moment, the Lord gave me compassion for a woman whom He loved and whom belonged to the Father.
Knowing He wanted me to pray, I picked up speed a bit. Just as I was about to meet her, she walked along the top side of the road. We took the short cut. She forked right on the upper ground road. We forked left on the lower ground road. “Well, Lord, I guess You have other plans for me today, I contently stated in my mind.”
Nope. He didn’t. He was relentless about this one. Why? Perhaps in order that I could share this story with you. I don’t necessarily know. Nonetheless, this is what happened.
We were walking up the hill. For those who have been to Israel, you know it’s not like Iowa (USA). It seems to be whichever way you walk here there is a hill up and down. Now I understand the traditional “stories from grandpa”…
….I walked to school….
UP the hill….
Haha! Grandpa stories are the best!
Though it’s not possible, I understand it feels like the reality sometimes. Literally, though, as we were walking up the hill, I turned to my friend, turned around, and said, “I think I’m supposed to pray for that lady.” She encouraged me and we waited for her to come up the hill. (Ain’t no way I’m walking down that hill just to walk up again.)
As she wobbled closer to where I was, with all the tact I could muster (I’m asking the Lord to acquire more…) I asked, “Do you know English?”
“50/50” was her reply. “What do you want?” (Maybe she’s working on tact, too.)
“I feel like I am to bless you. Do you have back pain?” I asked excitedly, expecting God was going to bless her and heal her there on the spot!
“Oh no, everything is closed. Everything past 2”, she stated confidently.
I’m sure this was correct and made sense in some conversation, but it wasn’t the one I was aiming to have. The woman thought I was asking about the bus system or what was open and closed that day, as Shabbat was starting later that evening.
“Thank-you. Yes, I know, but does your back hurt?”, motioning my back and her back, the conversation became more of a charades scene than a verbal communication.
“No, hospital far. No hospital here this city. Go far to hospital.”
‘Lord?’ I thought….. ‘Supernatural translation? Something? I’m really struggling here, Abba…’
“Ok, I bless you. God of Israel, heal back. Amen”, motioning again to her back, I try to convey I’m blessing her back to be healed by the God of Israel.
“Ok, goodbye!” she stated as she touched her hand to her arm representing a watch and that she needed to get on her way. Wobbling up the hill, she carried on her way as I watched, inwardly chuckling to myself about the funny experiences God gives me when I obey Him.
Honestly, I don’t really know what the point of that encounter was. I just know it was funny, it was one for the books, and I felt joy afterward! I felt joy not because I saw a miraculous healing or because I got to encounter God touch someone deeply, but simply because I obeyed Him and He was pleased. The way back, I rejoiced (even climbing up the mountain of a hill) because He is on the move, He is working in people, and He is giving me boldness to pray for people.
This was the first of three hilarious encounters I’ve had with people in the last week or two. I’ll continue to share more, and I hope you enjoy. I share these, because honestly they’re just funny; but also because I want you to be encouraged and not embarrassed. When encounters like this happen, they are not any less “holy” than when people are healed. They are less dramatic maybe, but they still count.
The other day, one of my wise friends confessed in prayer, “the struggle counts”. This was profound for me. The struggle does count. When I don’t feel God…when I don’t see God at work in me…. When I don’t know what I’m doing ….it still counts. My simple obedience still counts.
Therefore, in whatever season I am in, simple obedience counts.
And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments.
1 John 2:3