With our floors being resurfaced at home, we travelled to our favourite holiday place, down on the Victorian coast. We needed to be out of the house for a week, and a brief holiday was on the cards.
On our arrival, we headed out for our inaugural wander on the beach. With plans to stop and have a Devonshire tea (scones, cream and jam) at the conclusion of our beach walk, the children were ready to stretch their legs and run.
On our way out, I saw a man and his wife waiting for the lift on the ground floor. He was not quite elderly, but he had a walking stick, so I called out to my then five-year-old to not hit the lift button since someone downstairs needed it more than he did (he used to love going up and down the lift even though it was quicker to take the stairs). I walked on through the foyer smiling at the couple and gathering together my two children, not noticing anything else in particular.
My husband had mentioned that we had forgotten something and so I said we would wait on the beach for him as he went back to the apartment.
We waited some more.
He was taking an extra amount of time, and I had hungry mouths to satiate.
Eventually, running onto the beach, he said he had stopped to pray for someone. I laughed knowingly and said,
‘It was the guy with the walking stick, wasn’t it?’
‘Yes,’ he responded.
Andrew went on to explain that he had noticed the gentleman with the walking stick, and immediately felt God’s prompting to pray for him. Trying to ignore it he came down the stairs, realised he had forgotten something, went back into the apartment and as he walked back out of the apartment, he walked straight into the guy and his wife who had got out at the wrong floor (or so they thought). Andrew knew better – it was a God appointment for him!
As he told the story, I said I had seen the guy but had thought nothing of it except that he needed the lift more than our son. In comparison, my husband had seen him and knew that God wanted him to pray, and even though he tried to ignore the prompt, God had set the encounter up in a way that was unavoidable, and so to not stop would have been blatant disobedience.
And so Andrew obeyed. He stopped and offered to pray, knowing that this one was definitely for him!
The couple happily agreed to prayer and so Andrew prayed what he felt God was prompting him to pray – that the gentleman would have lightness in his step and that their time would fill with unexpected favour.
Simple, but profound.
We are all being called to stop for the one. We will hear the call if we lean into the heart of the Father. I believe the call is becoming more incessant. It is not just the ones and twos that are called to release Heaven on earth, but all of us who believe. Jesus taught us how to pray,
‘On earth as it is in Heaven.’ (Matthew 6:10)
It’s easy, but challenging.
It will be one of the most rewarding things you will ever do.
There is a surge, a ground force, a wave arriving and hitting the Body of Christ. I knew it then. I know it even more so now.
People are choosing to display God’s love in tangible ways. People are taking a risk, (translated, they are walking in faith) by choosing to offer God’s goodness, His kindness, His blessings to the world at large.
As the Body of Christ rises to be all we are called to be, God’s goodness will show, atmospheres will change, with His glory, with His goodness, with HIs love, with His kindness.
When we stop, even if nothing seems to happen, we have at least, as Heidi Baker puts it, had a ‘love encounter.’ Those we stop for will know that God loves them enough to send someone to them to stop, go out of their way and offer to pray.
The results, the outcomes of those prayers, are God’s. It is our place to listen, stop and offer – their choice to accept or not.
A swing and a hit, or a swing and a miss is not the issue. Every attempt matters, every attempt is a success. To just swing (to listen, stop and obey the Father’s prompting) will affect the atmosphere. If enough of the Body swings (hit or miss) a nation will change. Just as a baseball or cricket bat swings, even if it misses the ball, it causes a shift in the surrounding air. So too our obedience in stopping for the one. Just stopping on God’s prompting and offering makes the difference. The outcome of the prayer is God’s business.
I believe, and I have seen, that as we offer, we scatter seed. The rest is up to a loving God. The results, no matter what we think, are always good, especially if we are acting out of obedience, because we serve a good God, a kind God, a loving God. We may never know the outcome of our obedience or the outcome of our display of love and compassion, but we can always be sure that through obedience, we change destinies, because we change people, and in changing people we change families, we change communities; we change regions and we change nations, all because…
God is always good!