The year was 2007, some of my friends and I were halfway through a 5-week trip in Canada and we had just finished a glorious 2 weeks at Big White Ski Resort.
While I was there, I was adamant that I wanted to have some evangelical conversations with people on the ski lifts. I asked the Lord for opportunities, but I think in the end I was too gutless to have those conversations with strangers.
Sitting at the airport in Kelowna British Columbia, I was feeling a bit dejected. Disappointed in myself that I didn’t have the courage to share with people, maybe it was because I was only 21 years of age. Whatever the excuse I wasn’t happy with myself. In that moment, for the first time in my Christian life, something extraordinary happened.
An older man walked in front of me and sat down just opposite me, and immediately I felt the overwhelming presence of the Holy Spirit on me, burning hot, I looked at the man, and my heart was filled with this intense sadness and compassion for him. I didn’t know what was going on, all I knew is that I had to go and have a conversation with him.
I awkwardly left my seat and sat one seat away from him, turned to him and introduced myself. We sat there for about 15 minutes just chatting, talking about my holiday with my friends and then I asked him what he was doing in Kelowna. He told me that he was receiving treatment for cancer there. My heart dropped and I knew this was why the Holy Spirit had led me to talk to him.
I don’t think I was a very good evangelist back then for lack of experience, and honestly, I think I probably said some weird incoherent stuff to him. But I was led to pray for him. In that airport in February of 2007 as a 21-year-old, for the first time, I stepped out in faith and prayed for this man, a complete stranger, that the Lord would work in his life.
I will never know the result of that prayer, whether the man was healed or whether he came to know Jesus. For me it was a first step in a journey of listening to the Lord and obeying his promptings. I’m embarrassed to say that I have definitely ignored plenty of the Lord’s promptings to pray for people, but when I had prayed for some random stranger, I have often found the most remarkable response from them.
One that stood out to me was a tradesman who was working on our house, and during the day I had this intense feeling to pray for him. When he had finished for the day, I met him by the car and together with my wife, I asked him if we could pray for him. It was a resounding yes from him, and after praying for him he told us that he had a child who had been struggling with a bad illness.
One year at my school’s sports awards, we had a former Brisbane Lions AFL player come and give a speech. Throughout his talk I could not shake the Lord’s prompting to pray for him at the end of the night. When all was said and done, we got some photos with him and before I left, I asked him if we could pray for him.
His reaction was one of astonishment, after we prayed, he had a small tear in the eye and couldn’t believe someone would reach out and just pray a blessing on him.
There are a few more stories, but over the years the Lord has led me to just pray. Pray often! Pray with courage! Pray with authority! Most of the strangers I pray for now – it isn’t really because of a prompting from the Lord, but just a caring practice for fellow human beings who need Jesus and because I know God desperately loves them.
Bringing heaven to earth
We are commanded to pray and each time we pray, we open up the physical realm to the spiritual, where the blessings of heaven can rain down upon our broken and desperate world. I see the armaments of the heavenly weapon stores carpet bomb the enemy’s territory. I see the love and peace of our Heavenly Father rest upon the broken-hearted and the downtrodden.
Prayer ultimately is our weapon to use against the evil powers and principalities of the spiritual realm that affect our physical existence every day.
I offer a challenge: ask someone if you can pray for them, at worst the person will say no and might call you a religious weirdo; at best it may allow the Holy Spirit to heal that person or deliver them from their circumstances. What I do hope for each time, is that that person will experience God through that action and find salvation in Jesus.
Jarred is an HPE and Mathematics teacher on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, he is married to Haley and has three beautiful children Chelsea, Nathan and Ryan.