"I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast towards you. Nevertheless, I am continually with you, you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory.
A few weeks ago, we went to a church worship night with some of our friends. Going up to the front, I stood slightly behind my younger sister. Now, because my family had gotten there late -but still in God's timing - I ended up standing in an aisle. On my left were rows and rows of people sitting in their seats, and on my right was a few friends who ended up behind the pack. Oh, and there was a security guard who decided to stand right in front of my sister and I for part of the night.
I can't remember exactly what I was thinking, but I had a train of thought that sounded something like this: "this is so cool and you should go pray for that woman." I was like, what? Was that my brain, or the Holy Spirit talking to me? I glanced sideways at the woman that had been referred to, and I thought, "She looks fine. Why does she need prayer?" I then proceeded to forget about it. The worship night started, and as I was worshiping, I saw out of the corner of my eye that the woman had started to cry. The words "You need to pray for her" echoed in my head. In response, I turned back towards the platform (stage) and continued to worship. The next time I heard the words, I knew it was the Holy Spirit. My heart started pounding in my chest, and fear gripped my heart.
I tried to ignore it again, but when I started to worship, my heart wasn't in it. I couldn't worship. I also couldn't forget about the lady, who had now stopped crying, and how I was supposed to pray for this stranger who maybe didn't even need prayer. I knew I had to do it - if I let my fears control me this time, I knew I'd do it every time. I had to prove to myself that I could do something as daunting as this - but I also knew I had to do it because the Lord wanted me to. For the remaining half of the song that had been playing, I prayed and prayed for courage and rebuked the devil and the fear that was trying to strangle me. I told myself I'd go pray for her once the song ended, or when a slower song came. I told myself I wouldn't be able to focus if someone was singing at the same time as I was praying, and that I had to wait for the "perfect moment." I told my sister to move to the right a little so that I would be able to reach the lady. She looked at me weirdly (I don't blame her!), but thankfully she moved.
By this time, I'm so nervous I'm swaying side to side, my heart pounding so loud I'm sure everyone around me can hear it thump-thumping. I'm also slightly nervous about what my friends would think, but I know that they all love Jesus as much as I do and that they'd probably do the same. I must've looked really anxious too, because my friend asks me if I'm okay. I say yes… yeah, I lied. Who was I kidding? I was far from okay!
Right when I had made up my mind to do it, this guy came and started rapping and I was like, no way am I gonna try to talk (pray) over a man talking ninety miles an hour into a microphone that's louder than loud! But as he was rapping I was reminded of something one of my youth leaders had told me a year earlier. I had been talking to her about fear, and she had told me that the best thing to do was to not overthink it, and to just do it right away. Unless you're about to do something that could physically harm yourself, the worst thing that comes out of it is normally not that bad at all. Just don't think too much, obey. I was also reminded of our pastor's words, saying that the Holy Spirit can be grieved. He can be disappointed, let down, when you don't obey.
So while the next song is playing, I walk up to the lady and tap her on the shoulder. Although my heart is pounding, I know that the Holy Spirit would give me the words to say and pray. I ask her if I could pray for her, and she says yes. I ask her if she had anything specific I should pray for, and she tells me she had been struggling with something. So I pray for her. It's nothing fancy, but I hope and pray that my sister in Christ was encouraged through it. I head back to where I had been standing after giving her a hug.
Immediately after I had prayed for her, my heart felt a hundred times lighter. And I experienced this joy that could only have come from the Lord. A joy that came from being obedient to the Lord. As I went back to worship, it held a new meaning for me. I knew I had won a vital battle against the enemy and that the next time the Holy Spirit told me to pray for someone, it would be easier. But I was also so, so thankful that He didn't give up on me. He kept pushing me gently, not letting up until I had obeyed.
A month ago, I was in a church class with my sister. The guy who was teaching said something that really hit me. He said that when he felt so much anxiety and fear about asking someone if they wanted to become a Christian, he knew that the devil really didn't want him to say it, and was therefore trying to prevent him by throwing all this anxiety and fear at him. The guy knew then that he had to say it, since the devil felt it was necessary to attack him so much. And when he did ask the man if he was ready to believe, the man said yes!!
I experienced something very similar to the teacher, in that I was experiencing so much anxiety before I prayed and also during it. Satan was using anxiety and fear - which are both things from the devil and not from God - to try to keep me from obeying the Lord. He threw excuse after excuse at me, which I believed and accepted wrongly.
Family, don't let fear take control of you and keep you from doing what the Lord wants you to do. I beg you to rebuke the fear in Jesus' name, right now, and to leave it at the cross. Pray that He would remove the fear from your heart and replace it with His peace. Don't let the devil continue to deceive you and cause you to be afraid of everything. Don't let him win. I promise you, you will feel so much lighter. So much more free! It gives me so much joy when I obey the Lord and when I am serving others. But don't get me wrong - it's hard. A year ago, I was so enslaved in my fear. I was afraid to worship, to meet people, everything. I was afraid of what my family thought of me. I was afraid of the unknown.
And if I'm honest, I'm still afraid of some of those things. But the Lord is working on me, and I want you guys to know that it is possible!! He has really helped me free myself from fear. If you had asked me even a year ago to pray in front of a crowd of people, I would've looked at you, terrified, and maybe even said no. Now, it's a lot more natural for me, and besides - it's not even about me and how "good" my prayer is. It's about our good, good God! And remember, you are no longer slaves to fear!! Don't choose to become a slave to it again. Yes, it's hard, and yes, it's pretty scary to do things you're scared of, but I challenge you to take that step. Take that leap of faith off the edge and let the Lord take over. Don't let the devil win with his tricks. And trust me - soon, I know you'll be soaring.
"I have said these things to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, but take heart;
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"I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all of my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds."