Whoever would have thought that the Lord’s prompting to do such an unlikely, seemingly ineffectual thing would be the very vehicle God would use to draw a soul into eternal salvation through a saving relationship with His Divine Son Jesus! Unquestioning child-like obedience to the leading of the Holy Spirit does indeed bring the blessings of God!
Every weekend during those late 1990, early 2000 years, I would drive the 3 1/4 hours to my log cabin in the mountains of Upstate New York. The cabin was the only building in this subdivision that was cut into the woods, and I looked forward to just spending time there alone together with the Lord free of all distractions. There was no electricity in our subdivision, but I was fully functional with a propane refrigerator and stove, wood burning fireplace, and the soft, mellow lighting of an array of oil lamps and chandeliers from the late 1800s. The only sounds were the night sounds of the inhabitants of the woods; the only lights the breath-taking myriad of stars glistening in the night sky. Wonderfully peaceful and tranquil.
There was a little country church I attended on Sunday’s, and had gotten to fellowship with a sweet Spirit-filled sister who also attended…we were kind of “kindred spirits.” During one Sunday service, when the pastor was asking for prayer requests, she stood up and lamented about how no one ever came to visit her unsaved husband Al, who was also suffering with Crohn’s disease. I felt the Spirit of God impressing me to become involved.
My first visit with Al and Dolores went well, and in subsequent visits I got to know Al better and we became friends; he looked forward to my visits. It became very clear, though, that he did not want to talk about Jesus, or God.
Winter came, and I wasn’t able to travel to the cabin because of the heavy snows. I had a Billy Graham Devotional that I was following, and one day the Holy Spirit prompted me as follows: Every day, make a copy of the Devotional for that day, put it in an envelope [by itself, with nothing else], and mail it to Al. Each day, every day, all seven days of the week…mail an envelope to Al. It seemed like such an unlikely, ineffectual thing to do…but I replied [to the Spirit], “Well, OK; I will do that.”
For a number of weeks, Dolores told me by phone, Al would get these envelopes, open them, and without reading the devotional just angrily crumple it up and furiously slam it down onto the floor! Then quite suddenly one day, he opened the envelope and for the first time read the devotional…and then began reading them each day, even several times during the day. This pattern continued over a number of weeks. Dolores said that he began to look forward to getting the mail every day, and would get upset with the Post Office if there was no envelope for that day! [Of course, he would then get two envelopes the following day]. I never did get to see Al again; he ended up in the hospital and passed away. But Dolores told me she was eternally grateful for how the Lord used those devotionals to open Al’s heart, and he accepted the Lord with the pastor of that little country church on one of his visits!
That brings me to a very important principle concerning prayer that many Christians don’t seem to understand. Whenever I pray for someone, or something, I must at the same time specifically, consciously and deliberately make myself available to God to use in whatever way His Spirit leads me in what I am praying for…to do whatever the Spirit shows me to do, no matter the cost. The Holy Spirit prompts me to pray for an individual or a situation because He wants to use me to participate with Him in that particular work He is doing. My obedience to every leading and prompting of the Holy Spirit, and my faithfulness in bringing to completion the work He has given me to do, brings the blessings of God both to me and to the individual or situation I am praying for.
I don’t know whether in the depths of your heart you really believe there is a God in Heaven or not, but this I do know…Al was dead in his tresspasses and sins, but the Spirit of God knew what would draw him into a saving relationship with Christ Jesus, and He knew that I would follow His leading to participate with Him in that work. Mine was the blessing of being used as a ministering spirit, sent to serve those who are inheriting salvation. [Read John 9:1-41] I proclaim to you Christ Jesus…the One Who existed from the beginning, from Eternity Past, Whom I have heard with the ears of my own inner being, and have seen with my own spiritual eyes. I have gazed upon Him and have spiritually touched Him with my own hands. He is the Word of Life. His Life is continually being revealed to me; I have seen it and testify to it, and I proclaim to you that He is the One Who is Eternal Life. He always existed with the Father, and is now continually being manifested afresh and anew to me. I proclaim to you what I have personally seen and heard in the depths of my soul, so that you also may enjoy this same fellowship together with us. The fellowship I continually enjoy is with the Father and with His Son, Christ Jesus. I am writing these things so that you also may fully share together with me in this fullness of joy. [1 John 1:1-4]. It is our birth-right as a child of the Most High God!