I got an email from an associate pastor at a church here in Nashville that is using Prayer Encounters as a devotional. In it she thanked me for sharing my stories, inspirational thoughts, and prayer nudges…prayer nudges.
At the end of each chapter there is a Prayer Challenge. I love that she referred to them as prayer nudges. That is exactly what they are.
So many times I get these little nudges from the Spirit. “Pssst. Hey, Paul. Offer to pray for her.” My goal in life has become to respond to the nudge every time. I still click the cancel button sometimes. This happens most often when I am in a hurry. I catch the words coming out of my mouth that I swore off two years ago, “I will keep you in my prayers.” Gotta go.
But the nudge is still there. “Offer to pray now, Paul.”
I almost missed one yesterday. I had just finished speaking at a retirement home about my experiences of living and working in NYC on 9/11 and how it led me to this prayer encounters thing. I did not even see Felicia there in the back of the room leaning in from the door.
I had wrapped up my conversations and was making my way to the elevator. Point of clarity–the slowest elevator ever created. Just as the doors FINALLY opened there was Felicia, a building employee, quietly standing behind me trying to get my attention. She had slipped out of the lunch room to hear part of my talk.
She handed me a note and said, “I heard what you said about praying for people and I wanted to give you this prayer request.” The elevator doors closed again. I had time. Nudge. Ahem–Paul. Nudge.
I looked at the note. She wanted her day care back. She had kept kids in her home up until a year ago when she lost her home. “I really miss taking care of children.” Nudge.
She was kind of looking over her shoulder to see if her supervisor saw her not working. Now or never. I said, “Will you let me say a prayer right now. It will just take a few seconds.” She nodded. And it really only took a few seconds. She looked up, smiled, and went back to work.
I missed the elevator again. I decided to take the stairs instead.