Always a first.

[Risks No. 37 – 49] One of my joys is introducing old (and new) friends to a risk-taking lifestyle of love. My wife’s good friend Tiffiney had never prayed for a stranger before – this entry details her first “risk.” If Tiffiney or I can learn to take risks, anyone can. God gave us the sweet opportunity to pray for wonderful people (Andrea, Bobbie, Lamont, Carol, Tammy, Kayla, Jennifer, Darita, Vicky, John, Guitar, Shelby & Plumera) at our local area Wal-mart. The harvest is plentiful, the laborers are often few. Ask the Lord of the harvest to send you as a laborer out into it.

When I first watched The Heart of Come&Live! video, I was inspired by their bold faith in praying for those they encountered while walking the streets of Nashville. I knew I wanted to pray for others in a similar way.

But fear – it has a way of paralyzing. And the desire for comfort allows for forgetfulness.

Thankfully God doesn’t forget.

And He is patient.

It’s been years since I watched that video, but during a recent visit to Nashville I listened as Chad shared his Fast Friday experience and I was reminded of how much I wanted to be part of this work of the LORD’s.

“Can I come with you?” Is what I found myself saying. I wanted to know how to do it.

How do you approach total strangers and offer to pray for them? How do you make a meaningful connection in a matter of minutes?

The next morning I wasn’t entirely certain that I really wanted to know the answers to these questions. I was about to run errands with Chad while simultaneously asking the LORD to bring people into our path that He would have us pray for. And the prospect of so very publicly doing something outside of the cultural norm made me anxious.

Before we entered the store we prayed not only that the LORD would bring people into our path, but that any fear we had would leave us. Afterward I felt a peace about our outing, though I still experienced some nervousness. Chad assured me that was normal.

We met Jennifer in the parking lot and talked with her as we headed toward the store. Chad approached her because he’d noticed her smile and felt God wanted to encourage her, to tell her that she is an encouragement to others. Then, just inside the store, we prayed for Jennifer and her son who is struggling with the consequences of some poor life choices.

There were others we prayed for and I was comfortable to stand quietly by saying my “amens” while Chad prayed.

Then we met Kayla, a young pregnant woman.

Chad talked with her for a few minutes and he then asked Kayla if we could pray for her. She agreed and to my surprise, Chad asked me to pray for her.

It’s amazing the speed of our thoughts. In the split second it took me to agree to pray for Kayla I worried about what I would say. Although I’m pretty consistent at digging into the Word, I haven’t memorized many scripture verses. I felt inadequate – and the truth is, I am.

And in that moment, I learned the answer to my question of how to do this bold praying over strangers.

In faith – because this is really the work of the Holy Spirit. And my willingness to step out in faith believing that He will meet me there, is all it takes for me – or any believer, to share the love of Christ with a hurting world. – Tiffiney.