When we look not only to our own interests but also to the interests of others, God will reveal what He can do through us!
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4 (ESV)
The day had finally come and it was none too soon! My husband and I had stalled on making needed repairs to our backyard, and I was happy to see the repair crew arrive.
As the workers sweated away outside, inside, I typed away in my office. I ended the article I was working on with this challenge: "Today, let’s you and I look for someone who needs our prayers."
Sounds good, doesn’t it?
Almost immediately, I looked back out into the yard and noticed a new worker, so I headed out.
That's when I struck up a conversation with Johnny.
After exchanging greetings, it didn’t take long to learn Johnny was fairly new to our community. We swapped stories of what brought us to the area and how we both had to make major life adjustments when we moved.
Then that nagging, I've got to get back to work feeling crept in my mind. Just as I was about to say goodbye and make my way back into the house, I felt a nudge from the Holy Spirit in my heart: Pay attention to the person in front of you.
I spent a few more moments listening to Johnny before heading inside to locate our checkbook. As I began writing the check, I noticed my pen that had our church information on it.
Ask Johnny to church came a second nudge in my heart. Honestly, this one scared me, so I told God, "I'll ask Johnny to church if I see him again."
After writing the check, I looked around but there was no Johnny. I'm sorry to say I felt relieved. I don’t have to do the hard thing, I thought.
I stepped back into our home and my eyes saw something through the windows to our front yard. Johnny’s truck. He was still at our home, packing up his tools.
You can see Johnny, I felt the Holy Spirit pointing out to me.
I needed to obey.
“How am I going to do this, Lord? It’s so unnatural to just walk down there and start talking to him?”
Then the idea came: Go down the driveway, get the mail and start a conversation. And that’s what I did.
"Johnny, you said you were new here. Have you found a church, because you should check out mine?" I blurted, as I stuck out my pen.
Johnny looked at the pen. He looked at me. Then, like a volcano oozing lava, Johnny poured out his heart. He’d been hurt by a relationship in his church, but he wanted to believe God was still good. He was searching for God to speak to him.
I was stunned. To think I had almost missed this opportunity because of fear and my preoccupation with my own affairs!
After a few minutes, I attempted to wrap up our talk when I sensed God wasn’t finished yet.
You didn't pray for Johnny. I felt the Holy Spirit speaking to my spirit.
"Here, Lord? In the middle of my cul-de-sac? What if my neighbors see me and wonder what I’m doing talking to a man?"
That's for me to deal with, I felt Him reassure me.
So, I simply said, "Johnny, can I pray for you?"
He said, "Yes!"
And right there, in my cul-de-sac, God showed me what happens when we look not only to our own interests, “but also, to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4).
Friends, if we will slow down, stop and listen, we will see that God has an assignment for us today. Let’s look for someone who needs us to pray for them. May our eyes and ears be open to the Holy Spirit and boldly ask the question: “Can I pray for you?”
Father, those five words, “Can I pray for you?” seem so intimidating. Yet when spoken, they can open doors for You to do Your work through us. Empower us, Holy Spirit, to be brave and be bold today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
James 5:16, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” (ESV)
1 Timothy 2:1, “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people.” (ESV)
REFLECT AND RESPOND:
Reflect for a moment on where you are going and who you might see today. Ask the Lord to open your eyes to see someone you can ask, “How can I pray for you?”