Listening for Opportunities

Why do we walk past or ignore people who are obviously hurting or need someone to talk to? I know that there have been a number of times in my past when I was just too scared to talk to someone who was crying or upset. After all I’d tell myself, “I’m not a counselor or therapist; I won’t know what to say” I’ll even admit that there were times when I flat out thought “That’s not my ‘responsibility’ someone else will take care of it.” 

This week brought three such situations into my life. In each instance the women that I met tried to act as though nothing was wrong, and in one case the lady waved me away trying to pretend that she was alright. In the first two emotional situations that I happened upon I very easily could have done the ‘socially acceptable’ thing and pretended that I didn’t recognize their feelings, but in both of these instances I could almost hear a voice that said, “pray for them!”
Now I’ve got to admit that I’ve never thought of myself as a prayer warrior, but I’ve seen the dramatic results that can happen as a result of prayer. Results that happened immediately after I’d prayed. In each of those cases words have come out of my mouth that normally I never would have thought of saying.  Before I started to intentionally pray to God every day my prayers were filled with stumbling words that I would attempt to put together into an quasi-intelligent sentence. During those prayer times I never felt like I was able to complete a coherant sentence when I was speaking to Him. So often as I prayed my mind would wander and I’d wind up daydreaming instead of praying.
That changed dramatically when I prayed over a woman in China who had a severed achilles tendon. Up until that point I’d never had words flow out of my mouth that quickly or that clearly. Nor had I ever seen results happen like they did on that day. Before then I had thought of prayer as something that only really religious people did. Now, I’ve begun to understand that God truly desires to have a relationship with us and you can’t have a relationship with someone if you don’t talk to them or listen for their responses.
Back to our story… In the first two instances where I felt the Holy Spirit moving me to pray I was fearful that if I offered to pray for these two women they would reject that offer. The fear of rejection was so great that I almost just “bit my lip” and stayed quiet. Thankfully in both of the instances I opened my mouth asked, “Can I pray for you?” Both of these women accepted my offer of prayer and as soon as I began to pray words from The Holy Spirit began to flow from my mouth. I didn’t know what emotions were weighing heavily on the hearts of either of these two ladies, but in both of the cases I marveled as words of praise, encouragement, healing, and hope began to emerge from somewhere deep within me.
In the third instance I had taken my dog to the Veterinarian’s office and had to wait for quite a while past the time of our appointment. When the Vet finally came into the room she seemed to be her usual happy self as she appologized for the fact that we’d had such a long wait. She said that she’d had a tough morning and was sorry that she was running behind. I told her that it was ok and that it wasn’t that big of a deal. She went about the examination with her usual professionalism and good humor, but I could tell that something just wasn’t right. At the end of the examination she asked whether I had any other questions and I said, “Just one” as I held up my index finger.
This time without any fear that my offer to pray for someone would be rejected I asked, “Can I pray for you?”
She said, “Oh, Yes!” as tears welled up in her eyes. I stood up from my seat intending to walk over and place my hand on her shoulder. What happened next took me completely by surprise. She stood up and wrapped her arms tightly around me as she buried her head in my shoulder while I began to pray. I don’t remember everything that I prayed over her on that day, but I know that I thanked God for the skills and abilities that He’d given her; asked Him to bless her and fill her with the joy that only comes from Him; and asked Him to bless her for all of the help that she’s provided to both her patients and their owners. I left that examination room filled with wonder at God’s wisdom and knowledge. He filled me with the words that I needed to speak at the exact time that they needed to be spoken. Those words left me in awe of His amazing love for us knowing that He is El ROI–The God Who Sees Me. In this situation it was awesome knowing that He saw her pain and used me to be an encouragement to her.
Every time that I think about those three situations this week where I took that step forward towards someone who was hurting and in need I am amazed, overwhelmed and humbled at God’s ability to use us for His purposes. Each of these women are strong professional women who had obviously been struggling to deal with their emotions on their own, and none of them had been able to succeed on by themselves. God is a great and almighty God, He is
EL SHADDAI–The All sufficient One, The God of the Mountains, God Almighty. He is able to do all things if we come together in prayer and ask Him for His help.
So the next time when you see someone hurting and think that you won’t know what to say, just remember that you don’t need to say anything except, “May I pray for you?”
The Holy Spirit will provide everything else!

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