There are times when stopping for the one is not convenient. There are many times when stopping for the one is not profound either (according to us anyway). But, if you choose to respond in obedience, you never know who you might encourage. It might be one of God’s kids that needs a boost and He’s sending you to release that encouragement because… God is Good!
I was heading home after a haircut when I felt the nudge to stop at a large store.
‘Surely not,’ I thought, knowing our Christmas budget did not extend to anything I would see in there.
Regardless, I U-turned and headed back towards the store.
I scanned the store as I walked in, suddenly aware that I was most likely not there for me but for someone else.
I wandered throughout the home wares, checking off each item I rather liked. As I did, I checked in with God, asking who I was perhaps there to pray for.
I kept wandering, praying quietly in the Spirit under my breath for the people in the store.
‘I might as well do something useful,’ I thought.
God was not highlighting anyone to me.
‘Must have got it wrong,’ I thought. But in my heart of hearts, I knew better. Even my presence wandering through the store, praying for those there, and acknowledging people with a smile would impact the atmosphere.
As I headed towards the door, I glanced at the register area and had a sudden recall of a woman I had prayed for and prophesied for years before.
Completely forgetting everything I teach on recall being a way that God sometimes gets our attention, I went to head out the door, smiling at an employee who wished me well as I walked out.
‘Have a great day!’ I called over my shoulder.
I was halfway to my car when I realised it was ‘him.’
He was the reason I was there.
I turned back, feeling a little embarrassed. Argued a little, but knew what I needed to do.
‘Excuse me,’ I said.
‘This might seem odd, but I am a Christian, and I felt strongly that God wanted me to come into this store to pray for someone. No-one really came to mind as I wandered through your store, but as I walked past you, I knew it was you. Is there anything I can pray for you for?’
‘Oh wow,’ he said.
‘That is so encouraging. I’m a Christian too. Wow! No, nothing comes to mind, but wow, thank you. That must have taken lots of courage to do. Well done.’
I smiled and explained I’d been doing it for years. His name was Jason, and it so turns out that he went to a friend’s church.
I asked if I could take his hand, and I released a word of encouragement, praying for what I had discerned. He was tired, as many of us were late in 2022, and although he did not admit it, I knew he was losing hope.
As I finished my prophetic word of encouragement and prayer, I thanked him for allowing me to pray.
He thanked me for stopping and repeated how encouraging it was that someone would stop to pray.
‘Jason, I really want you to understand. While this is normal Christianity, recognising and responding to the voice of God, this was not my idea. God made it clear I needed to pull in here on my way home. He has His sights set on you. My being here is evidence of His love for you.
I thanked him again and smiled, saying I needed to head home.
He nodded, and we agreed together that…
God is Good!
But the one who prophesies speaks to people for their strengthening, encouraging and comfort. (1 Cor 14:3)
Since you are eager for gifts of the Spirit, try to excel in those that build up the church. (1 Cor 14:12)
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. (1 Thess 5:11)
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. (Eph 4:29)
© Beth Kennedy 2023