Often God directs us to personally pray with people who cross our daily path. Here are some ways to become a “first nudge responder” when the Holy Spirit calls us to pray with others on the spot.
How to do this prayer practice:
1. Receive the release of the Holy Spirit into your life.
This is called the baptism of the Holy Spirit. In the New Testament, believers were promised the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit. Here are two key Scriptures on the baptism of the Holy Spirit:
“I , John, baptize you with water for repentance, but after me will come one who is more powerful than I. He(Jesus) will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.” NIV Matt. 3:11
“And as I (Peter) began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them, just as He did upon us at the beginning. And I remembered the word of the Lord, how He used to say,
‘ John baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’” Acts11:15-1
2. Become aware of the spiritual gifts you have received.
Once you receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, you will likely experience some awareness of spiritual gifts coming alive in you- gifts of evangelism, courage, words of knowledge, words of prophecy, gift of discernment, gifts of faith, gifts of healing, gift of encouragement, gift of tongues, (prayer language), etc. You are being equipped for the mission.
3. Become God’s ambassador.
Now, truly believing that you are a new creation- and an ambassador for Christ- 2 Cor. 5:17-20, you begin to feel called to live out the great commission. Mark 16:17–20.
4. Intentionally place yourself on duty and believe that God will equip you.
Intentionally placing yourself “on duty,” ask the Lord to send you, believe that by the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit you are equipped with whatever gifts are needed to accomplish whatever the Lord sends your way.
5. Become a first nudge responder.
This will likely feel unnatural or uncomfortable until you’ve responded to His nudge a few times. Work towards being a first nudge responder. If in doubt- just step out. The Lord will honor your efforts and adjust your responses.
6. If the Holy Spirit calls you individually to notice someone, you’re probably the one He wants to use to follow through.
One Sunday as Nancy and I were leaving our church after the services, my eye was caught by a young woman still seated . The church was virtually empty, and she sat alone in the center of the sanctuary, appearing to be distraught and crying.
I told Nancy and a prayer group friend, Susan, that one of them needed to check on her- it seemed that she needed prayers. Susan immediately responded, “ You are the one the Lord showed her to- you’re the one He wants to go” I knew it immediately.
It felt awkward and it was challenging to go back down the aisle and ease into the pew next to her. Her name was Sandy and she was really hurting, but was open to ministry. I sat there praying over her while Nancy and Susan stood in the back and prayed for both of us.
Sandy came to the prayer meeting the following week and soon afterward her husband also came. Many months later I was asked to be the godfather to their new baby
7. Remember your mission, giving the Lord the most opportunity to use you.
Years ago, I was taking a flight from Washington to Atlanta. I don’t fly often; but I consider any trip as a possible evangelistic opportunity and was wondering who the Lord might send. Being duly prayed up, I boarded the sparsely occupied plane- there were several vacant seats.
The plane had rows of three seats on each side of the aisle. I chose a middle seat giving me two chances to evangelize- one each side. Both seats next to me had remained empty. Just as the doors were about to be closed, an attractive, nicely dressed African American woman, about forty years old, took the seat beside me. I ended up praying for her right there on the plane.
8. Learn their name, call them by it and listen.
Continuing the story of the woman on the plane, we spoke and my Bible visible on my lap probably put her at ease to talk with me. Her name was Pamela and she appeared very tired and stressed. Gradually she told me how her husband, after a long illness due to military service, had died in Alabama. She was just then returning from burying him at Arlington.
9. Ask the person if you can pray with them.
Also ask further permission if you might join hands or lightly touch them as you pray. Pray whatever the Holy Spirit gives you to say. Pray in a low tone of voice to keep the person from feeling uncomfortable if others are nearby.
As an example, I asked the woman on the plane if I could pray for her and she readily agreed. The prayer seemed to give her great peace- she went to sleep before the prayer was finished, and she slept all the way to Atlanta with me holding her hand.
10. Stay under the grace.
Do what He leads you to do – and not what He doesn’t. You’re likely not called to fix all their problems. Be patient with the results, we are to operate on the Holy Spirit timetable- not our own.
How to fit this prayer idea into your schedule:
The Holy Spirit is the one who fits this into our day. Our part is to be willing to set aside our own business long enough to minister to the person.
I approach this as a two part plan for my day- plan A and plan B. Plan B is my best scheduling for the day, given all that I know is on my plate. Plan A is when the Holy Spirit intervenes with a divine appointment which I didn’t know was coming. I have asked Him to book these for any time- anywhere. Since they are divine and are plan A they override all other plans. And should not be considered as an interruption.
Since God knows everything, He doesn’t violate my commitments with others. He sometimes rearranges a block of my time, but always give grace for it to work well- beyond textbook!
Remember: the Holy Spirit is far less in need of our ability than our availability. If we make ourselves available, He will make up any shortage of ability.
Also, many of the most awesome Holy Spirit encounters take only minutes- but can change the course of a person’s life–WOW!
The Biblical origins and traditional roots of this method of prayer:
The Apostles were often led by the Holy Spirit to stop, notice strangers and to pray with them as they went about their normal daily routines. An example is found in Acts 3:1-9 where Peter and John were going up to the Temple for prayer one afternoon and a crippled man asked them for a hand out. Peter directed his whole attention to the man and said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” (Acts 3:6) Peter took the man by the hand and the man jumped to his feet and went with them into the Temple “walking and jumping and praising God.” (Acts. 3:8)
Copyright Gary Garner 2011