I can hardly wait to share the good news of what Jesus did this past Sunday! As you know, I strongly believe that we Christians should be taking the Gospel message out into the world instead of protecting it within the four walls of a church building. Actually, I believe that WE were meant to be the church as we encounter the world and bring the Light, that is Jesus, into the dark kingdom of the Enemy.
Jesus commissioned His twelve disciples "to preach God’s kingdom realm and to heal the sick to demonstrate that the kingdom had arrived". As He sent them out, He said, "Just go as you are" and "Go in my authority, and teach them to faithfully follow all that I have commanded you". He also said that loving Him empowers us to obey His word. So that is exactly what a small group of us did this last Sunday... we obeyed His commandments, followed His instructions, and answered His call to "Go"!
We began our assignment by meeting to worship; praying together, ministering to each other, and just soaking in His Presence before we went out. Someone in our group felt He heard the Lord say to look for a woman in a red shirt. The first stop we made was the local park. Although a huge public park, it was relatively uninhabited that afternoon, and we were a little disappointed that we weren't encountering more people. But as we were driving towards the exit, we saw a woman getting out of her car, and she was wearing a red shirt! My husband pulled up alongside her and asked if she needed prayer for anything. She didn't even hesitate. "Yes"! We all got out of the vehicle, surrounded her and asked about her circumstances and why she needed prayer.
Her story was heartbreaking. Her oldest son, who has a problem with drugs, had been missing for several days. She hadn't known where he was, and had been in church praying that morning for him to return. She had heard from him just an hour or so before, but knew that he continued in his struggles and she didn't know how to help him. So we gathered around her, laying hands on her and each prayed for the drug addiction to be defeated and the family relationship to be restored; and for her son to come home and discover who he is in Jesus. As we prayed, her phone began ringing and as we finished and said our goodbyes, she said it was her son calling!
Not only did the Lord show us who we would need to pray for that day, but confirmed that we were hearing from Him and showed us that He could make that vital connection between a mother and her hurting son. Our spirits soared!
The next stop was the local mall. We hadn't even parked before we saw a woman who seemed to be limping, so we pulled in to the closest empty parking space and approached her. What a compassionate Christian she turned out to be. Although suffering from scoliosis herself, she asked us to pray instead for her friend Kim, who was suffering from cancer, yet continued to take in abandoned children and care for them. She enthusiastically praised her friend's faithfulness and commitment to these children and asked that we pray for her to recover so she could continue showing love and mercy for those precious children. We did so, and then prayed for her back and a release from the spirit of pain. We left her blessing the Name of Jesus and continued on into the mall.
At that point we split into pairs with the purpose of listening to the Father, just as Jesus had done; willing to minister to anyone who needed prayer and the touch of Jesus in their life. My husband, Mark, paired with Tami, the wife of the other couple, and I joined with the husband, Keith, and we started at opposite ends of the mall. As it turned out, Mark and Tami felt led to pray for people with obvious physical pain. They laid hands on a woman with knee pain, and she reported the pain had greatly subsided. Another woman received prayer for shoulder and sciatic pain, and although she remained skeptical, she did admit to some relief. Jesus will take that and continue to work in her! Then they approached an Indian man who said he was from the Comanche tribe and suffered from neuropathy in his foot. He was surprised when the condition improved considerably. Mark and Tami then engaged in a conversation about his faith in Jesus. Although he was skeptical that the relief would last, they left him declaring their trust in the Lord to continue His supernatural healing.
Keith and I found ourselves praying for emotional healing. There was a woman, named Penny, who heeded our question if she needed prayer by saying, "How did you know to stop me"? At it turned out, Penny was a newly saved Christian and was struggling with how to walk in righteousness. She said, "I know Jesus is my Savior, but I don't even think to pray as a solution to this life's issues". She said when it came to solving problems, prayer was about fifth down the list, and we could tell she was really beating herself up for what she saw as weak faith. I asked her if she wanted prayer to be more important in her life, and she teared up. "Yes". So, I told her, "Just ask Jesus for a heart to pray. It's that simple. He hears you and wants to grant the desires of your heart". She left visibly shaken, but touched by our encounter.
We then continued our stroll through the mall, again amazed that there were fewer people than we expected. We saw a man sitting on a bench, surrounded by four young children. We approached him asking if he needed prayer, but he declined. My partner, Keith, didn't let that stop him. Keith engaged with each of the children, imparting a ray of Jesus's Light into their midst, proving you can represent Jesus in all manner of ways.
We continued our walk through the mall. A group of four young men had caught my eye as we first entered the mall, and 30 minutes later, we encountered them entering a sporting goods store. Although I didn't feel any strong prompting from any of them, my gaze kept returning to them, and I finally looked at Keith and said, "I'm going". I walked into the store and up to two of the young men and said, "I just want to ask you if there is anything we can pray for you"? Well, the tallest of the two looked at me like a deer in the headlights, and just shook his head "no". His friend did the same thing and started to turn away. At that moment, I turned in the opposite direction and came in contact with the third young man of the group, and he asked me, "What did you say"? And I repeated the question, asking if he needed prayer for anything, and he didn't hesitate. "Yes, for my future".
I asked him his name (Joe) and said, "What's going on? What about your future do you feel the need for prayer"? And he said he felt stuck, he didn't know what his destiny was; what he was meant to do. Instantly, my spirit discerned that Joe's spirit was stuck somewhere in a realm and couldn't see or hear the counsel of Jesus or the Holy Spirit. So I asked him to close his eyes, and see if he could see himself stuck someplace where he couldn't get out. And he said, yes, in a room in his house. I asked Joe if he would be willing to let Jesus come into that room and walk him out. He agreed to that, so I asked him if he could see Jesus in that room with him. After a couple of seconds, he nodded his head yes.
I then asked the Lord to let Joe see Him walking him out of that room and collapsing that room behind them. Joe nodded his head that he had seen that image. Then I asked Jesus to tell Joe what He wanted to tell him about his future. At that moment, Joe opened his eyes in alarm and jumped back about two feet. He looked at his companions and then at me, and said, "He talked to me! I heard Him!" I asked what Jesus had said, and Joe replied, "I was so startled I didn't let Him finish!" I asked again, "What did you hear"? Joe heard Jesus say, "I am the Way....". I then took that opportunity to encourage Joe to stay focused on Jesus and let Him lead the way to his future. I shared the story of Peter being able to walk on water until he took his eyes off Jesus, at which time he began to sink.
I told Joe that Jesus has a future planned for him. All Joe has to do is trust Him and stay focused on Him. He (Joe) can meet with Jesus anytime, just like he had moments ago, because Jesus wants to lead him into a life abundant; all Joe has to do is follow His lead. He was so animated and enthusiastic over his encounter with Jesus, and kept telling his friends, "It was real! I saw Him and heard Him"! We hugged Joe and wished him well, turning to leave the store, and praising Jesus for showing up in that young man's life.
But Jesus wasn't finished. As Keith and I began to exit the store, one of the employees of the sporting goods store approached me. He was actually in the middle of completing a sale and stopped me to say, "I need prayer". His co-worker affirmed his request: "He is really hurting. He truly needs prayer", and she agreed to finish up the sale with the astounded customer, so we could minister to this young man, Lee.
Lee's heart was broken. He was in love with a girl who, after 3 years together, was rejecting him. You could see it all over his face, and my spirit was struck with an incredible amount of compassion for this young man. I rebuked and bound the spirit of rejection, casting it at the foot of the Cross and covering it in the blood of Jesus. I prayed that Lee would recognize his identity as a son of the King; trusting that at this very moment God was preparing a godly woman who would love him as he desired and deserved to be loved; a woman with whom he would be equally yoked.
I instructed him that every time he heard the lie from the Enemy that he was unworthy to be loved, to renounce it out loud and replace it with a truth from Scripture: "God rejoices over me with gladness; He loves me with an everlasting love; that He loves me so much that He has made plans for me -- plans to prosper me and not harm me, plans to give me hope and a future". I explained that the spiritual realm is all around us and when we declare [with our tongue and our voice] the promises of God, that they hear it and tremble. Then Keith prayed over him, reinforcing his identity in Christ. We hugged him and told him to walk in that truth.
As we left that store, I was flying high and so were my companions! I now understand why "street evangelists" like Todd White are so enthusiastic about their calling. The simple act of being obedient and going out to share Jesus with the world is life-changing! And it doesn't have to be dramatic, with cameras filming and large audiences in attendance. And it doesn't take a lot of time. In fact, we each probably spent less than 10 minutes with each person we encountered that day. But they encountered Jesus in those precious moments and He would continue to work on their hearts, if they would agree to receive Him.
The truth of the matter is that there were only four of us who went out that day, splitting up into two pairs. We encountered only a few people, got turned down several times, and ended up healing only nine people. But Jesus showed up in the lives of nine people in a matter of a couple of hours, and I'm pretty sure their lives will never be the same. And I'm here to tell you that witnessing His love in their lives is infectious!
Yes, it was exciting to be a part of those encounters, but it wasn't about our performance, because I can tell you that on my part, I had no idea what I was going to say, or if I would even be able to discern how to pray for them. I just trusted that Jesus would show up and do something miraculous in the life of each person who accepted our invitation. It was certainly not about us, because we are no one special. We just each know the authority and power of Christ that has been given to us to make a difference in the lives of the hurting and the lost. Anyone can do what we did if you believe that the Kingdom of Heaven has invaded this earth, and that Jesus can work through us as Kingdom ambassadors. But what a rush to partner with Jesus in shining that Kingdom of God into the hearts of those seeking Him, and to heal those who needed to be released from physical pain.
I just thank you, Jesus, for being able to use the four of us to invade this realm with the Kingdom of God! We were a ragtag army of four, but we walked with the Sword of the Spirit by our side and the Shield of Faith before us. We showed nine people that You are real and You are alive! I praise You that You protected us as we went out sowing seeds for the Kingdom, and I am thankful that we caused no harm as we introduced Your healing heart and hand into those precious lives. We get it, Lord! It's really that simple, and You're just waiting for obedient servants to raise their hands and say, "Send me". We can't wait to see where You will take us next, how You will show up, and who will receive Your touch on their life. There's no turning back now!
1 Chronicles 4:10 Jabez called out to the
God of Israel: “If only You would bless me, extend my border, let Your
hand be with me, and keep me from harm, so that I will not cause any
pain.” And God granted his request.