I am so blessed to be part of the Encounter School of Mission at our church. I’ve learnt so much in the past 18 months but one thing that stands out is I’ve realised how much God loves the ‘random’ people we come across in our every day life. However, they definitely aren’t random to Him but wonderfully special and He goes to amazing lengths to reach them. And He invites us to go with Him. We can either see these encounters as ‘random’ meetings or divine appointments when we get to be His ambassadors, reaching out to others so they can taste and see that The Lord is good!
Last Wednesday I was in our town centre and noticed a couple of ladies walking towards me. I felt that wee ‘nudge’ to say hello and take the risk of asking if there was one thing I could pray for them that day, what would it be? Straightaway the older lady said ‘mental health’. I asked if the prayer was for her or someone she knew and she explained she had been struggling with fear, anxiety and depression since before Christmas. After I had prayed with her, I felt I should explain how God had helped me deal with the fear, anxiety and depression that threatened to engulf me in the early stages of post viral fatigue. (Many people haven’t heard of PVF so sometimes it’s easier to refer to it as ME). I began to say “I’m recovering from ME …” when the lady I’d just prayed with pointed to her companion and said “oh my daughter has had that too.” So I got to pray with her too!! The mum kept saying “You were meant to be here today!! You were sent here today.” And the daughter, who was clearly touched by God’s presence, just kept nodding in agreement.
The next day I was waiting for a friend in the foyer of our local hospital. Another lady came and sat down in the same area. She seemed anxious and looked like tears weren’t far away and she kept twisting a hanky in her hand. Again I felt that gentle nudge to speak to her. When I asked if there was one thing I could pray for her, she immediately said “despair”. She said she just wanted peace and life. I got to tell her about the Prince of Peace and how He had come so we might have fullness of life. I explained how Jesus was knocking on the door of her heart but she needed to open the door. She said she wanted to!! Again she kept saying ‘How were you here? I can’t believe you were just here at the right time!”
I love it when He ‘randomly’ arranges for us to be in the right place at the right time and we get to see Him reveal His amazing love and goodness through a surprise encounter. But what I particularly love about these two encounters is that within 24 hours I had the opportunity to pray against the very things that were threatening me almost two years ago – despair and depression, fear and anxiety.
Graham Cooke writes “In all the areas of your life that the enemy has made you a victim, God is not only going to release you from that place, but He’s going to give you an anointing to release other people from the very things that you were once a victim of. When you bless another family, it’s payback for whatever he did against your family. When you pray for the sick, it’s payback for those times when the enemy tested your body with an affliction. Every time you pray for someone, it’s revenge!”
I’ve been so encouraged by hearing the stories of what God is doing in our community through so many people. I share these stories with you so you can get revenge too! Holy revenge. A few days after I shared the first story with some friends, I got this text from one of them who had risked asking the “if there was one thing I could pray for you today?” question for the first time!
“I prayed for an assistant in a store today. She was so open and gave me three or four big hugs!!”
The assistant was so grateful and said nobody had ever done such a beautiful thing for her. She asked my friend to make sure she came back to the store very soon!!
The question isn’t “Will people be responsive when offered prayer?” The question is will we be responsive in offering to pray with them?