We received this incredible story from David, who’s based in Florida, USA. We love the honesty and truth in this story, and how God is using 24-7 Prayer’s Lectio 365 app to speak to people in their morning quiet time!
It all started when our Church decided to pray non-stop for 24 hours on the National Day of Prayer in the USA.
I took the 8am-9am slot, and was dropping my daughter off at school when my secretary texted me to say that there was a homeless man sleeping right next to our prayer room door.
“Oh no!” I thought “What do I do? I don’t want my volunteers to be freaked out!” I decided to google “Sebring Police non-emergency number” so that I could ask a police officer to gently move him along. “That,” I thought, “would save me the moral crisis of asking a homeless man to move away from our 24-7 Prayer Room in the middle of National Day of Prayer.”
But then, I felt God clearly saying to me “Juliano! What are you doing?”
I could clearly see the irony of calling the cops; or even stepping over this poor guy on my way into our Prayer Room. So, I pulled into the church parking lot and said a quick prayer: “Help! Help me to do the right thing!” I walked up to the prayer room and the sleeping man.
He was fast asleep, so I thought: “I don’t want to disturb him. I’ll just quietly slip into the room and hope he’s not there when I come out. If he is, well then Lord, I’ll help him out.”
I decided to start my hour in the Prayer Room with Lectio 365, and as I started to listen, I heard, “Today is Thursday the 6th of May. This week I am consciously making space for the Holy Spirit to challenge my lifestyle and shape my attitude towards the great biblical priority of hospitality.”
“You have got to be kidding me” I laughed, out loud. And then, I got to the Yielding Prayer at the end, which read:
Father, I give my front door key to You. My house is Your home.
Bring whoever You want, whenever You want into my private space this week.
Jesus, I relinquish my schedule to You. My days are in Your hands.
Help me to welcome interruptions this week as gifts from You.
Spirit, I surrender my possessions to You. All my stuff belongs to You.
Help me this week to ‘share with the Lord’s people who are in need.’ (Rom. 12:13)
I decided to forgo the next 40 minutes in the Prayer Room. It was very clear that the best way to spend the rest of my hour was prayer in action. I walked out of the room and introduced myself to the man outside, whose name was Steven.
But God obviously wasn’t quite done. One last bit of irony. As I patted my pockets, I realised I had left the house that morning without my wallet. Just like Steven, I had no money.
So, I took Steven home to get my wallet and then we went to the petrol station to fill up my car. As I was filling the tank, I clearly heard Jesus say to me, “I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat.” That’s all. Nothing else.
“Wow,” I thought, “I don’t normally hear his voice that clearly” and grabbed some food for Steven. As we got back in the van, he asked me, “Why are you doing this?” I replied, “Funny you should ask. This is going to sound a bit crazy, but Jesus just told me why…”
After this, we purchased some clothes, shoes and a backpack. I brought Steven back to church and gave him some paid work for a few hours.
During this time, I got to hear Steven’s story: how he’d gotten himself in a mess and how he was stuck on his way back home. But at least now, he knows God loves him, his followers in Sebring love him, and that there is good in the world.
If St. Benedict were around today, instead of Ora et Labora – Pray and Work – he’d probably say something like, “sometimes you gotta put legs on your prayers”!