- "You heavens above, rain down righteousness; let the clouds shower it down. Let the earth open wide, let salvation spring up, let righteousness grow with it; I, the Lord, have created it. Isaiah 45:8
It was a night of family worship & prayer, a time where Shirley, Joel and I get together with our extended family to seek God's face. Over the past several months we have had a number of family meetings in one of the local churches, and have seen the hand of God move powerfully in answer to specific prayers. Tonight we anticipated another great night, but the Holy Spirit had a surprise in store for us that would be even greater than our expectations!
At this particular gathering we asked for testimonies about answers to prayers from our last meeting. We began to recount some of the major ones and gave praise to Jesus for His blessings. The testimonies spoke of some desperate physical, financial, and other needs -- God worked His wonders in them all. What joy as I realized the difference our corporate prayers were making in our family.
We focused on the greatness of God as we praised and worshipped Him. Songs of the Lord were born and prayers were expressed. At some point we shifted from live music to CD for soaking in His presence. Joann Macfatter's CD, "Messengers of Fire", turned out to be just what the Holy Spirit ordered -- releasing us to a realm of the Spirit of God that filled the room with His glory.
About an hour later, as the music continued, Shirley and her sister, Peggy, needed to go outside to the car. They noticed, in the darkness, a man walking his dog. He spoke to them and asked what was going on inside; they explained, and talked a little, eventually asking if he lived nearby. He turned and motioned across the street toward a house that had a lighted cross on the door and answered, " I live just to the right of the cross". That comment was too pointed to pass up! Shirley asked if he'd ever "been to the Cross". That turned the conversation toward spiritual matters. Turned out he was very ready for a much needed change in his life. A "recovering" alcoholic, he told them some of his story. They listened and invited him in to the church.
Once inside, we all had the pleasure of meeting this man, Robert. We listened as he explained more about his life and how he wanted a change. Shirley asked him if he wanted Jesus in his life. He responded with a resounding yes, revealing hunger for the spiritual in his life.
Each of us had an opportunity to share a nugget or two from the Lord. Our nephew, Dion, led out in prayer concerning Robert's battle with alcohol, Peggy and others joining in. I had a word about God's great love and healing power. Robert prayed a prayer of forgiveness and was gloriously born again! Praise the name of the Lord!
We laid hands on him and prayed some more. When the prayer was over God had given him a sign that this was real. He said our hands were penetratingly hot while on his shoulders. We explained that this was the fire of the Holy Spirit -- that same fire was now inside him. With tears in his eyes I gave him a big strong hug. I could feel the water of his tears of joy through my shirt. Others gave him hugs and we welcomed him into the family and Kingdom of God.
What a wonderful surprise the Holy Spirit had given to us. Another person plucked from the hand of the evil one and brought into the glorious light of Jesus Christ! We asked him if he would like to stay with us while we worshipped and prayed some more -- he said he would love to. Dion ended up talking with him at length about the things of the Spirit and we invited him to come to the church on Sunday. He was all for that and even said he would like to be baptized soon.
We gave Robert a Bible and Shirley showed him where the book of John was and suggested he start reading there. We'll be keeping in touch with him in the days ahead and covering him with prayer as he journeys on the road with Jesus.
By this time it was about 11:30pm. Dion offered to take him out to Denny's and all of us would join in, but Robert had to get up early to go to work, so he graciously declined.
Thank you Jesus for showing yourself strong -- for loving us when we don't deserve it -- for your AMAZING GRACE!