About three years ago, my Mother-In-Law was hospitalized for a severe blockage in her bowel. While at the hospital, sitting in the cafeteria, I noticed a man and woman sitting at the table next to ours. The woman was weeping and appeared to be in anguish and sobbing. I could not sit idly without going over to speak with her. Little did I know that this was the beginning of my ministry. I was nervous, did not know what to say, scared that I would say the wrong thing, unprepared, not scripted, very raw, unpolished, but willing to heed the leading of the Holy Spirit, to at least pray for this woman.
I introduced myself and told them that I did not know why I was led to them, but felt that God wanted me to pray for them. I prayed and we exchanged numbers. The hospital was in Massachusetts. They were from Pennsylvania and I lived in Virginia. My Mom-In-Law was a patient in that hospital and the lady’s sister was in ICU because of a long battle with cancer.
Apparently, the chaplain in that hospital was scarce and this family needed prayer. They needed someone to pray over her sister. There was no one else around. They invited me to come to ICU and to pray for her sister. I accepted their invitation and went. I remember that her sister was hooked up to life support and was very ill. I stepped out on faith, laid hands on her, and prayed for her. I prayed for the family. The next day, I went back to ICU and prayed for the sister again. I read Scripture to her and the family. A few days later, my new friend’s sister went to be with Jesus.
I mention this, not because I want to boast, but because I want you to know that God can use Christians, even if they are not fully prepared. I know many Christians that do not want to pray out loud because they do not know what to say. Many may not take a step of faith to do something out of their norm for the gospel. I have had an aversion in my past where I would leave it up to a chaplain or a pastor to go pray. But God is calling all of His Believers to accept the call to serve.
Look at Isaiah 6:8, “And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here I am! Send me.” Many times, people ask God to use them, but then when the time comes, people turn down those Divine Appointments because they feel that they cannot be successful because they just do not know what to say. Let me point this out. It is not about me or you! It’s about Jesus Christ and His Gospel.
In 2 Timothy 4:2, Paul is giving Timothy instructions. He wrote, “preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.” “Preach the Word; be ready in season or out of season.” Let’s just focus on this part, “be ready in or out of season.” I truly believe that Jesus wants us to be willing, in or out of season. He wants us to be obedient to the Holy Spirit. You may be in a circumstance where you are the only pastor that people will see. If you don’t do something, you may be the only one who God is allowing and calling to minister to others in need. In my case, I was the only one at that time to minister to my new friends. You may be the only Christian that will ever witness or pray for someone.
Every day, we must live our lives and be open to be ministers of the gospel for those who are in need. If we want to be a servant of Christ, then we must not be so self-absorbed in ourselves but be open to Divine Appointments that present themselves daily for us to minister to others who are hurting and in need of a friend. This can only occur when we are in tune with Christ Jesus. Were you aware that going to visit someone in the hospital and laying hands on them and praying for them for healing, not only will strengthen the faith of the patient, but will strengthen the faith of the family as well?
My friend recently posted the following on my Facebook page: “I’ll forever be grateful for you dear Pastor Joe… for coming alongside of my Husband and I to pray with us over my Beloved Sister in the ICU. You went from being a complete stranger to a forever friend that day… and though- to such indescribable heartache- we didn’t get the miracle so many of us were desperately longing for… we know Lizzy will be there awaiting you in Heaven someday, and count you among her dearest of friends, too. God Bless You! Yours always.”
Again, I did not post this to boast, but to encourage all Christians to be open to the Holy Spirit. Step out on faith and pray for one another. Be obedient and the Holy Spirit will do the rest. If you truly love God, then you will love your neighbor by praying for them and helping them in time of need. “Here I am! Send me!”
Photo Credit- Pexels, Luis Quintero
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