God can call us to stop for others, regardless of where we might be in the world. The trick is being tuned in so we are ready to respond in the moment throughout our day. It is simple to do – a knack we can all learn. In the same way children attune their ears to the sound of their parents in a crowd, we can learn to be attuned to the voice of the Father. Once we learn the sound of God’s heart for ourselves, and also for others, stopping for the one in response to His heartbeat is easy. It’s fun. It is a privilege to pray.
I had walked past her in the morning light, and my heart immediately reached out. I smiled as I passed, but a further tug on the heart caused me to hesitate.
The family were laughing as they climbed into the car to drive on to the French alps, and yet the pull to pray, the sense of God’s love for this woman, caused me to turn back.
It was immediate and came as a stirring.
Small in stature, she smiled as I approached.
She sat outside the Basilique de la Visitation, a church on a hill overlooking Annecy, a town in France.
We had just visited the church. On a European scale, the interior was simple. It housed the relics of 2 saints, and it was for this purpose I later discovered she was there.
I had seen her earlier. She was with another sister. We passed them as we drove into the car park. They were taking photos of one another outside the church, looking neat, yet beautiful in their habits.
The family was a little ahead and were laughing as I passed.
I smiled, as I felt the prompt, and turned back.
‘Bonjour! Parlez-vous anglais?’
‘Yes, I do. I speak English.’ she responded.
‘Oh good,’ I said.
‘I’m a Christian, and I was hoping I might pray for you. May I pray for you, please?’
‘Yes, you may,’ she responded.
I went through my usual: asking her name, telling her mine, and asking if I could place my hand on her arm to pray.
Formalities aside, I prayed, thanking God for this beautiful woman.
I felt such a depth of love for this little nun. She was small in stature, but I could feel her might in the spirit.
‘You pray a great deal.’
I stopped and inclined my heart to the Father’s some more.
I saw her kneeling in prayer, tears flowing down her face, as she entreated for those she served.
‘Yes, you pray a great deal for the lonely, the sick-you have a such a heart for them.’
I stopped again to listen to what the Lord wanted me to say.
‘I see you have been through a very tough season. You have wept as you have knelt and prayed, seeking God. I can see you as you pray. He has seen your tears, and He has heard your prayers, and He loves you for your heart of faith and kindness. Great fruit will come from those prayers, the ones you have cared for and carried.’
I was teary, feeling the love He had for her. He was so grateful for her faith and steadfastness.
She looked at me and said,
‘I love the lonely and I care for them. I also care for the sick, visiting them, and giving communion where needed. Although I live in London, I was born in India and I am here to visit my orders patron saint, Saint Francis.’
Her words led me to think of an intercessor friend in London, and recognising the prompt, I said,
‘You pray a lot. I believe you are an intercessor. God adores you. God loves you so very much! You have heard His heart well, and He delights in you. Things will become easier than they have been. The people you have prayed for, yes, they will come to know Jesus as their Lord and saviour as you have prayed. You will see much fruit from your prayers!’
She smiled instantly, looking pleased. She particularly relished the idea that God loved her greatly.
‘I love to pray she repeated. I care for lonely and sick,’ she trailed off.
Not knowing what else to say or pray, I thanked her for allowing me to stop.
‘My gosh, He adores you,’ I said.
She grinned as I wiped my tears.
I wanted to hug her, but held the desire in all its tension, understanding that I was feeling the weight of God’s love for this small, gentle woman.
I again wiped my tears as she thanked me for praying and we wished each other well.
‘Blessings,’ I called as I walked towards my family.
‘Blessings,’ she called back.
We waved and smiled at her as we drove out of the car park.
The privilege of praying. The privilege of seeing into a life of service, from one so unassuming, rested on me.
Our car was full of laughter, yet the fragrance of His love for her lingered.
We can be anywhere in the world when we hear the voice of God for his people. We can be anywhere in the world when we hear the voice of God for one who has not yet walked through the door of Jesus, to say ‘yes’.
We do not need to be on a mission trip, nor a formal evangelistic outreach. We just need to be doing life with a heart inclined towards the heartbeat of Heaven. If we do, He will call us to stop for the one as we go, allowing us to see into their hearts, their lives, their dreams, wishes, challenges and joys, and allowing us to see and feel them through His heart, purely and simply because…
God is Good!
© Beth Kennedy 2023