After a concluding night of “Life in the Spirit” (where our group leader didn’t attend and so I happily became the group leader) and after an extra hour of staying around to sort of help I finally headed home. I got in my car and was tempted to go back in in pray. But I looked at my watch and saw it was 9:31 and was like “Really, is this just me thinking this or is this God?”.
So much of my time standing there manning a table in silence (after a deafening onslaught of activity) was spent wondering about how to better hear what God is telling me. I even took time to write:
“When I can’t see how you’re speaking to me it makes me question if I’m open to you.
You are in a sudden chill when I am in prayer.
A feeling of peace amidst my worry and unclarity.
May I be in silence Lord to let you minister to me fully.”
[Which after writing the second and third line I laughed because God was like “Here are two examples of me speaking to you!”]
Then in the car I jotted down:
“Help me to discern my word from your Word; my desires from your desires.”
And then I started my car and I left… or at least drove 50 feet across the parking lot and saw a woman sitting in front of the Mary statue praying.
God prompted me to go and pray with her. I parked my car. Prayed for the Holy Spirit to be with me and then went and did something I have never actually done before – asked a stranger if I could pray for them.
I mean, I did a slight intro just saying I felt called to come over and “could I sit and can we pray together?”. She was on the phone and so I thought I had mistaken a person just on their cell phone for someone in prayer and was a little disappointed – though I thought “God you could still work with this!” (because if being on the phone excludes you from eventually being prayed with no one would ever be able to be prayed over!). Turns out she had been on the phone with her boyfriend and they were praying a decade of the rosary together like they do every night (“awww” and a momentary thought of “aw shucks this isn’t someone who needs prayers!”).
But she told me what she wanted to be prayed for. And I just said I mostly pray internally – so it may be silent. But then somewhere after a few inner-sentences I spoke the prayer out loud. When we were all done she asked me if I had anything I wanted to be prayed over for. And funny thing is – I didn’t think so until I had been sitting there and I realized that I actually did and so again we prayed.
And she was an expert at it! It was clear a few sentences into prayer that this woman is someone who has a great ability to pray over people. And so it was just a beautiful moment sitting together in prayer, sharing our longings with each other and God, and praying wholeheartedly about them.
When we were done I said to her, “God is so great! He made me think I was going to do this thing for someone else but really He called me to you so that He could do something for me!”
So at 9:31 I may have failed to say “OK God I’ll go back in.” But at 9:31:25 He guided me to pause and spend more time with Him so that He could reveal that – sure, separating His voice from my own thoughts can feel tricky, figuring out where He is calling me to go versus my openness to going can be hard to follow, but if I am just open to Him even in the slightest He will work with that and reveal to me His love, His beauty, and how He can use a thought and a feeling to draw us closer to Him.
Do I struggle to discern Him? Sure. Will that continue? I’m sure it will again tomorrow. But today He asked me to do a few things for Him and when I gave Him my “Yes” He worked such beautiful graces with it.