Tony & Friends.

[Risks No. 978 – 986] I’m confidently revived enough to say, “I’m back!” November and December proved to be the lowest months since beginning this risk challenge 24 months ago. Even though the light was/is clearly illuminated at the end of this journey’s tunnel (when I say end, I’m only referring to documenting/sharing risks – I’ve begun to see one thousand risks as the gateway to a lifestyle). I haven’t felt or been myself. My compassion for others had hit an all-time low (even though I was still occasionally risking), despair was a near constant foe-turned-friend, and I wrestled to believe that God truly was who He says He is. Looking back, it was depressing. I wrestled with my calling, with my identity, and with why in the world I do what I do. Now, in all that low, I still was praying/reading the Word/worshipping/etc. – it wasn’t that I ran off the deep end of no return, but I was quickly drying up and cracking left and right.

As of Monday, I felt the Holy Spirit prompt me to pray this simple prayer during my quiet times; “Father, I pray for a fresh anointing from Your Holy Spirit and the power to live like Jesus.” It’s a take on Acts 10:38: “…how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.” By day 3 of praying this prayer I had already sensed a shift taking place in my heart/head. It’s now day 5 and it’s like my eyes and ears are open again and I can see! I “stumbled” upon this epic two-part series here and here by Todd White that just further floored me. Thank You, Abba.

Here are a couple of risks from this week:

I had a picture of the greeter/card-checker lady at Costco, and that God was taking her into a whole new level/experience of love. When I walked through the doors to show my card there was indeed a woman but I was on the phone at the time. I finished shopping and walked out – still on the phone. Asked my friend to hold and I walked back in and shared what I was sensing. Pam looked at me like I was both crazy puzzled, how-in-the-world-do-you-know-that, look. Told her God loved her and was for her.

I met Trace while hanging with a friend the other night and he shared how he’s starting up a new business. Asked if we could pray the Lord’s grace over that process. “Oh, absolutely!” Held hands and prayed/encouraged him.

Beth had a birthday yesterday and we’ve both wanted to go see Unbroken. We finally did. Brittany was working the front window when I asked if anyone had told her that she was amazing. “Uh, no. Ha.” Well, I just did and it’s true. Shared a few thoughts I had for her and asked if I could pray over her. “Yes, please.” Held hands through the little window-opening and praised God for her life. Tears.

Michael took our tickets and showed us where to go. I asked if he had any pain in his right knee. “No.” Pain anywhere else? “No.” Oh, well that’s great. Sometimes Jesus gives me ideas for where people are hurting. At the mention of Jesus he literally pointed me to the theater, turned and began walking away from me. I thanked him for who he was and wished him a great night. It was obvious he had been hurt along the way and was carrying hurts but I didn’t sense I was to pursue him in the moment. I have been praying for him ever since. We can’t allow the hurts of others to bring us down. That’s what the enemy wants. Rejection is simply a reminder that we’re on course with the Lord – he felt so much more of it than we likely ever will.

Elliot had finished cleaning one of the theater’s as I went out for a quick pee break before the show. I couldn’t help but notice his bright purple cast on his right wrist. Asked what had happened – “broke it moving big rocks around the yard with my dad.” No pain, it was healing well. Asked if I could pray it continued to heal just as it ought to. “Sure.” Prayed and then shared some prophetic thoughts over him and asked if he was wanting to go into mixing or producing. “Well, I’m a drummer but what I’m really passionate about is politics, so what you said to me actually really applies to that field.” Oh, cool – I can honestly say I didn’t have a clue. Prayed over his heart for politics and then he asked, “is it cool if I give you a hug man?” So good!

Met Kim & Ariyana at the coolest record label I’ve ever walked into, Third Man Records, here in Nashville. Asked if either dealt with neck issues. Ariyana did. No pain at the moment. Asked her to come around and had Kim place her hand on her neck. Prayed. Encouraged them. Kind of awkward, awesome.

Had to return some items to Lowe’s today. Met D’alaquisha (sorry, I may be severely misspelling her name). Asked how I could pray. “Oh, I have three teenage boys!” Laughed at how she obviously needs a ton of prayer over them. We held hands and prayed. Asked if she had any pain. “No, I’m feeling great.”

Ashley was limping pretty severely on the way out of Lowe’s and I asked it was her knees. “Yes, I don’t have any knee caps anymore.” Shared the heart God has placed in me and asked if I could pray that her knee caps would reappear. “Sure, I’ve been doing a lot of praying myself – they’ve been saying for years that I should be in a wheelchair but I’m not going to believe that.” Wow. Prayed over. No pain present but no immediate change. Super sweet woman. Hugs.