We are always begging God to tell us what to do with our lives. But it seems when that moment comes where we are doing what God calls us to do, we have no doubt we are meant to do it. It’s usually something that takes some risk. It may even be difficult and uncomfortable. But in the end it fills the soul. The things we as Christians are called to do, are meant to help others, but in the end always changes us.
Last Summer I went to Ireland with a team from my church. We were helping a church in Belfast with their local outreach. It was challenging, uncomfortable, yet thrilling and life changing. There was a ministry called Healing on the streets. I was actually dreading this ministry when I signed up for it. But I knew I was supposed to. We prayed for people on the main street in Belfast on a Saturday morning from 9-12. We met in a double-decker bus to hide from the rain. Then we were sent in pairs along the street and given a stack of flyers. I was so nervous and couldn’t wait for it to be over. I was paired with a friendly older man who seemed to know everyone who walked by. He gave hugs, shook hands, and knew names. We only prayed for about two people, but we talked to many. I was so nervous that for the most part I observed the man talking to people. I didn’t know what to say. But I loved how this man had a relationship with all the people walking by. I loved how these people knew they could get prayer right there on that street every Saturday morning, rain or shine….usually rain. This experience was a seed planted in my heart that would change me forever.
When I came home from Ireland I felt God nudging me to start a street prayer ministry in my town. I wrestled with this for quite a few months. It took a really bad break up with my boyfriend to leave me feeling so empty and broken, therefore coming face to face with God. When you are face to face with God, and you stop running, you hear God so clear your fears suddenly aren’t so loud. Finally, last Winter, my best friend and I took some homemade flyers to our local Farmers Market on Lancaster Blvd at 5:30pm on a Thursday night, and started a ministry called Prayer on the Blvd.
That day I was scared out of my mind, but something happened in me that set my heart on fire and I didn’t care, come hell or high waters, I was praying for people, even with my hands shaking and my prayers quavering. And it was amazing. Of course we got some strange looks, or chuckles, but there were people who wanted prayer and other Christians who were so encouraging. For that few hours I felt all the things God asks us Christians to do, collide and explode right there in my heart. I felt it….fullfillment. After running from God’s will for months, finally surrendering was like a waterfall of living water to my cracked, broken,and tired heart.
In my head, I pictured this ministry becoming just like Healing on the Streets in Belfast: A large group of passionate consistent people praying every week on the Blvd. But I’ve been doing it for almost a year now and once in a while there will be four or five of us, but there have been times that it’s just me, and lately it’s been just my friend Andre and I. The fact that not many people want to pray with us does get me down and cause me to doubt that I’m supposed to be doing this at all. Plus, we are lucky if one person lets us pray for them on a Thursday night. I’ve wanted to give up this ministry a few times, but God never lets me. I have a few pastors at my church that have given me encouragement, telling me to keep it up and that God will grow the ministry. They made flyers for me, to invite our church prayer team. I’ve had meetings with them, where they give me advice and help me plan to grow this ministry. Last week, Prayer on the Blvd left me feeling down because nobody wanted prayer. Then I found out the Farmers market is changing hours and I started becoming frustrated with things not working out the way I envisioned. So I was driving to the Blvd last night and I was dreading the evening. But then God spoke to me. I felt Him tell me that it doesn’t matter how many people are in this ministry, and it doesn’t matter what time the Farmers market is at. It basically doesn’t matter if things don’t go the way I picture they should. The point is that I am obeying Him and that even if people don’t want prayer, we all need it. This changed my perspective and the night was amazing.
It was a beautiful night. It was just Andre and I. We were so joyful after talking and praying at the coffee shop together for an hour. The sky grew dim and faded from a light pink on the horizon to a dark blue up above. The street lights were on and the street was alive with couples, kids, strollers, families, and friends. Every few moments the smell changed from kettle corn to BBQing meat. We stood in our usual spot just talking and laughing as we handed out flyers, offering prayer, and saying hi to the people we see regularly. I think we prayed for the most people we ever had before: A lady who couldn’t walk, a sick family, a pastor, and a few others. I remembered back to that morning in Belfast when I was the observer and now I was doing it and I wasn’t nervous or afraid. There were explosions of fulfilment in my heart, and I knew I could never stop this ministry unless God specifically told me to. There is no words to accurately describe the feeling of doing what you know God is asking you to do and having people respond to what God is doing. It is so thrilling. More thrilling than anything ever.
If you have a calling that you wrestle with, or that you are running from…
Come face to face with God and just surrender. I know we all have to be ready to hear God clearly. Maybe you aren’t ready. When you say yes to God, you are giving up certain things: money, time, friends, pride, fear. It’s not easy. But ask God to help you be ready. And when you finally give it up to God, it will be frustrating. It will be a burden. It won’t look the way you think it should. Don’t give up. Trust God. Because like I said, we are always begging God to tell us what to do with our lives. But when he does we don’t want to hear it. Or he only tells us the next step instead of the whole plan. We ask Him to tell us and guide us but then we go our own way, or we stay comfortable. It might feel free or exciting to do your own thing or to do nothing because we think we are waiting to hear from God. But God is already speaking. There’s nothing more free than being in God’s will.
And once you jump into God’s will, you will never be there same. And it’s so worth it.