I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” He said, “Go . . .” —Isaiah 6:8-9
Of all the household chores, I hate ironing the most. I hate it so much that I have my shirts laundered. April (not her real name) works early mornings at the cleaners. We’re on a first-name basis. She knows I’m a pastor. I know she is single and cares for three elementary-school-age grandchildren. While it has been rather obvious to me that April likes to talk, she hasn’t shared with me whether she’s divorced or widowed, and I don’t know the circumstances that led her to take in her grandchildren. Several months ago she asked if she could “confess” to me that she hadn’t been to church since she was married, except for a handful of funeral services and an occasional Christmas and Easter service.
You need to know that last January 1, I put April on my “hit” list. I’ve been praying that God would use me in any way possible to share Christ with April. Recently I stopped at the cleaners on my way to an early morning meeting. I was running late, but I thought that if I could just run in and out, I could make my meeting on time. It looked possible. There were no other cars in the parking lot. April was at the computer when I came in, so she immediately typed in my name, noting the four shirts I brought in and the “on hangers and heavy starch” instructions. As I was reaching for the door, I said, “Have a good day!”
April responded with a sober, “I will, physically.” I’m not the most sensitive person in the world, but even I recognized her words as a rather unique response. Within a fraction of a second the Holy Spirit reminded me that one stressed-out grandmother is of infinitely more value to God than any meeting. The Spirit sensitized me to the fact that I just might be on the threshold of an interruption that could turn into a holy moment. I decided to be obedient to the Spirit. I asked, “April, is there something wrong with the rest of you?” With tears welling up in her eyes, April told me that she didn’t think she could keep up with the pace of caring for her grandchildren. She just felt overwhelmed and alone. With a choking voice she asked, “Do you think God would be willing to come back into my life?” Within the next two to three minutes I had the profound honor of being able to lead April in a prayer of recommitment to the Savior and Lord she had left decades earlier.
God loves to interrupt our lives—not in a negative way but in a way that surprises us with opportunities to join him in his mission here on earth. God’s will is always done, regardless of our responsiveness. But don’t miss the excitement of being interrupted from what you have planned. God wants you to join with him in fulfilling his plan.
Prayer Starters for Praying Isaiah 6:8-9
- Praise the Lord for his great plan of salvation and for his willingness to use us to help bring others to him.
- Confess any carelessness you may have shown by not listening to others’ needs for spiritual comfort or for not being available to share Christ with others.
- Ask God to give you the willingness to be used by him. Like Isaiah, pray this prayer: “Here am I. Send me!”
- Ask God for the courage to be obedient when he takes you up on your offer.
–Adapted from Be Jesus in Your Neighborhood (Developing a Prayer, Care, Share Lifestyle in 30 Days) by Alvin VanderGriend. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.
Praise God as Comforter, Immanuel (“God with us”), Paraclete (“one who stands alongside”). Give thanks for his promise: “I . . . have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand” (Isa. 42:6). Confess those times when you have doubted that God’s hand has been in front of and behind you, guarding your life (Ps. 139:5). Commit the times of your life into God’s hands (Ps. 31:14-15). Ask him to show you how close he is to you.
Ask God to make you his hands of compassion in the life of one unsaved person this week.
“A person must recognize his need for God before he can request divine aid and give God due thanks.” —Anonymous