“For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:14 ESV
“Ask her if you can pray for her,” the Spirit of God spoke to my heart.
This was not the first time this had happened to me. Nor likely the last. It doesn’t happen often, or regularly. Just sometimes. When God desires it. I call someone on the phone. A business. A customer service rep answers. A stranger. I need help. Sometimes I’m riled up. Something I think the company is doing something wrong. Some sort of problem. I’m not getting what I want. Now. How selfish I can be! Demanding! Prideful! Arrogant! I’ve had a bad habit of being unkind, rude, mean, irritable, impatient, for years. I’ve worked hard on this. To be loving. Kind. To repent before God and apologize to the person. To be filled with God’s Spirit instead. To walk in His ways. To love Him. And others. To show Christ’s love. To die to self and live for Him! To not miss opportunities to minister to others. To be sensitive to His voice – to His Spirit’s leading. For His glory. For others. Even strangers. What we tend to think of as strangers anyway.
My Internet was down that day. Grr. God’s Spirit told me to ask if I could pray for the woman who answered my call.
“I don’t feel like it,” I said defiantly to God. Like a whiny, spoiled child. I just wanted my Internet to work again. The woman didn’t even work for the company I called. I was on hold for so long the company’s answering service picked up! The woman didn’t know how to help me. Grr. Again. While I waited, that’s when God told me to see if she needed prayer. He knew. He was waiting for me. Silence. His Spirit convicted me.
“Excuse me, can I pray for you?” I asked the stranger.
Quiet. Then this. “Wow,” she said. In awe.
I told her I had resisted God. Then submitted. How could I pray? She told me to pray as the Lord led. I prayed. She told me afterward earlier that morning she had needed help and encouragement. God had answered in this call. She is in ministry like I am. God had led me to pray for what she needed. Without knowing her. Without knowing her need. I prayed by His Spirit. I prayed for this stranger. But she wasn’t a stranger. She was my sister in the Lord. And one of God’s Creation. A woman who needed prayer that day. I had been her first call that day. We were both in tears.
What if we stopped looking at people as strangers? What if instead we saw people in need whom God wants us to reach through Him with the Gospel message and the love of Christ? Please don’t miss your opportunities. Instead of seeing people as strangers, why not see them as opportunities to proclaim the Lord Jesus Christ and help build and encourage His Kingdom? As opportunities to love God and our neighbors?