Honestly, sometimes I wonder if God would have me start a church in a grocery store. He certainly keeps me busy when I’m there. I know I have written more than a handful of blogs about being led by the Holy Spirit and being obedient when He tells us to move. Still, I never cease to be amazed at how He moves in the unlikeliest of places.
This morning after dropping my daughter off at school, I decided it would be a good time to get my grocery shopping done. The earlier you can get there the less crowded it is and in most cases that means you can get in and out quickly. That was my plan anyway.
I was passing by the electronics department when I met a nice looking couple. The man nodded at me, and the lady smiled, and we both continued walking opposite directions. That was the moment when the Holy Spirit said, “I want you to pray with them.” My first thought was “Really Lord?” These people seemed to be an ordinary couple. They didn’t appear to have a care in the world. They didn’t look troubled. And once again the Holy Spirit whispered, “Pray with them.”
I turned around to see if I could still see them, but they were gone. Feeling like I had missed God, I continued walking but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I should have stopped them. As I often seemingly find myself doing, I said, “Ok God, bring them back into my path and I will pray with them.”
I continued my shopping and just minutes later I rounded the corner to find the lady standing in the aisle I was entering. I approached her and said, “Ma’am, I know this is probably going to sound crazy but a few minutes ago I passed you and your husband, and the Lord told me to pray for you.”
This is always the point where I anxiously await their reaction. The thoughts rushing through my mind go something like this, “Did I totally miss God, or did He indeed want me to stop her? If so, is she actually going to let me pray for her, or does she have some choice words for me?” My eyes searched her face for a reaction that would reassure me.
She spoke softly and slowly as she began to tell me about her husband’s health. He had been having severe heart problems. She continued to share with me that he had congestive heart failure and for the past several weeks had spent a lot of time in and out of the hospital. She told me she had been very worried about his health. She shared some of the upsetting things that had been happening recently, and how they were really worried about what would happen next.
I asked her if she thought he would let me pray for him. Almost as if on cue, he walked around the corner and joined us. She told him exactly what I had told her. He looked at me and said he would love for me to pray for him. I took both of their hands in mine, and as I prayed I allowed the Holy Spirit to take over and lead me.
When we all said, "Amen," I noticed the gentleman had tears in his eyes. He was squeezing my hand so tight as he said, “God bless you for praying for me. I appreciate it so much.” The lady looked at me and said, “I have never felt the Holy Spirit so strong in my life!” I walked away thanking and praising God for this gentleman’s complete healing.
I may never see them again, but God knows what happened in that encounter in the grocery store. And, because the Holy Spirit orchestrated the whole event, I’m certain He had a plan for them.
Many times we strive to be obedient to God because we don’t want others to miss a blessing. I have learned that if I ignore that small still voice of the Holy Spirit, I am the one who will miss the blessing. There is nothing that thrills me more than knowing that God trusts me enough to lead me into the path of those who need prayer.
Maybe God keeps me writing about this topic because He is trying to let you know that you can do the same thing. It may seem scary to step out in faith and offer to pray for a stranger in a grocery store. But you can know for certain that if God asks you to do it, He has gone before you and prepared their hearts.
The enemy of our souls would love for us to remain quiet. He knows that if you ever take that first step of faith—and reach out when God instructs you to—you will be unstoppable. He wants to rob you of a blessing. I want to encourage you today to pray and ask God to give you opportunities. Then listen for that small still voice of the Holy Spirit. When He nudges you, and draws your attention to someone—move! You will be so blessed, and who knows what miracles will take place because you were obedient?
Luke 11:28 NIV
“He replied, ‘Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.’”
Donna Sparks is an International Speaker and Evangelist. She is the Author of Beauty From Ashes: My Story of Grace, and, No Limits: Embracing the Miraculous.