The topic of boldness came through on my e-mail group with the Thumb boys. I ended up sharing a story with them I’d be planning on blogging about for a while. So, here it is…
A couple weeks ago, our pastor challenged us to start praying for people at random. Not just pray for them on the DL–but to ask them face-to-face if we could pray for them and just be a blessing to them. So, I took up the challenge and have done it a few times…less than I which I could say I have…but still I’ve done it some. Every experience has been awesome–both a blessing to me and the other person. I’m telling you, from the small sample of people I’ve prayed for, people are just LONGING to be prayed for and know that somebody cares.
One situation in particular was pretty stretching. I actually fought with God about it for over a week. I was shoveling snow from our driveway one Sunday (a day I wasn’t feeling very “filled” and had turned down God’s prompting to share in church) and the Lord asked me to pray for our old neighbor lady. We’ve lived by this lady for 2.5 years now and I didn’t even know her name. So…it would be really odd for me to show up at her door and ask her if I could pray with her. Plus, I’d always assumed she was pretty nuts from what I’d seen of her.
After shoveling the drive, I got changed and then stood by our door, thinking about doing it for about 20 minutes. When I finally did get the courage to do it, someone had pulled in her drive and was visiting her. I considered the opportunity to have passed. I then got really self-condemming and beat myself up for two days.
Well…after sharing all that at small group and getting prayed for by Scooter and others…and then requesting prayer for boldness at Wednesday night church, a pretty big opportunity came up at work the next day. Our staff meeting devotional evolved into a pretty rising conversation about healing and prophecy and prayer and some other stuff. Basically, I had the opportunity to share and testify–much to my former-charismatic boss’ suprise–how God is still very active in these areas. It totally took him off guard that even-keeled, level-headed, non-emotional Joel believed God moves that way. It was awesome because it did so much to reaffirm what I know to be true in my heart and have experienced in my life. I sometimes think witnessing and boldness does as much to support and challenge our own faith as it is does the people we’re sharing with.
To wrap up, Thursday before Christmas I did a dangerous thing: I did another personal worship/prayer time. You just never know what God is going to ask you to do when you’re in a room alone with him, worshipping him. And of course, he again asked me to pray for our neighbor lady. This time, I wasn’t going to turn him down. I knew I would be way too disappointed in myself if I did. So, I dug up a generic Christmas card, signed it and walked it over to her.
I ended up talking Vangie (short for Evangelina) Ruhl for about 45 mintues. It was awesome. She’s not crazy at all; she’s actually been part of a few miracles of God herself. And the way she responded to me: she must have thought I was an angel in her presence. She was just glowing after I prayed for her at the end and hugged her goodnight.
So…those are some recent instances of boldness in my life. They don’t compare to proclaiming the Gospel to people set on killing me…but it sure is more than I’ve done the past few years of my life. And like Iggy said, all of it was wrapped with love. I genuinely itched to pray with all the people I prayed with. My flesh and emotions didn’t want to do it, but in my heart and spirit, I longed to offer them Christ’s kingdom and encourage them to taste and see that he is good (Psalm 34:8).
Pray for boldness…for “how much more will [our] Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matt. 7:11).