Pick up the Phone

My husband often refers to me as “my little minister.” I have earned that nickname by praying everywhere and anywhere -pizza parlors, restaurants, grocery stores, department stores, street corners, client’s businesses, rest rooms, swimming pools just about anywhere. He never quite knows when I am going to say “okay lets pray” after having a three minute conversation with a total stranger.

Steve just recently said to me. “Carolyn, I know that you always feel this need to pray with the world, but I don’t think you should pray “In Jesus”” name with a business client who tells you they are not Christian. I think that you should be respectful and leave that part out. I think it makes Jewish people uncomfortable.””I hear you” I replied. “Does that mean you hear me, agree with me, will comply with that request OR that you just hear me and will go on praying with everyone in Jesus’ name whether they tell you they are Atheist, Buddist, a Muslim Hindu or Jewish. “My answer was absolute silence.

I will speak the truth. That is what I do. I don’t preach. I don’t recite scripture. I don’t argue theology. I just pray. With anyone – anywhere – anytime. Most times, I ask “can I pray for you?”Sometimes, I just grab their hands and say “let’s pray.” If they have a need, I am going to pray to the only one who can meet that need. It is as simple as that.

I have never in my entire life said a prayer without saying”I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen.” I could not do it. I would not do it. It would be like trying to recite the “ABCs” starting with the letter b.

When they call me about doing an ad in our booklet, IALWAYS know it is a God assignment. Every phone call that has resulted in an appointment at my home office to create an ad for our advertising booklet or an appointment at their place of business, the ad has been the secondary issue.

Just the other day, I received a phone call. This man had spoken with me several times and had finally decided he was ready to meet. I made an appointment and gave him directions. I greeted our new advertiser at the door. He was 6 ‘ 5″. My husband is 6 4″ inches tall. Except for professional basketball players, my husband towers over just about everyone. I realized at that moment when they shook, that my husband really likes being tall. I am 5’ 1″ and that is with grace. Probably 5 1/2″ but 5 1″ sounds better. Yes,we do look quite comical together, and we are polar opposites in every way. The only thing there is no debate about -it was God who put us together. He does have a sense of humor. Without His help we wouldn’t have last seven days. We are heading to our seventh wedding anniversary.

Our new client discussed his business and his life. He was raising a twelve year old son on his own. He was working as a sales rep for an alarm company. This job gave him some flexibility to balance his responsibilities as both father and mother. He wanted to do some advertising – needed to do some advertising. We came recommended by one of our clients, a computer repair business that he has used for a few years now. He found him in our booklet. They have become friends.

Advertising is great – especially if you have money in your business budget to pay for it. but it takes time. It is like going to the gym. It is repetition and consistency that achieve the end goal. When you are low on finances all monetary expeditions are difficult decisions, including placing an ad. We work hard to keep our prices affordable by doing everything ourselves – sales, bookkeeping, collecting. The decision to sign on the dotted line was weighing on him. He signed on the dotted line.

He explained more about how his business works so that I could put together the wording and content to create a successful ad. I told him that I would type up the information and have our graphic designer e-mail him a proof tomorrow. Cathy is a designer. Our ads are about the size of a dollar bill and are in black and white. Most clients at first worry that there won’t be enough space to say what they want to say – until they see the proof and start believing in miracles.

It was time for him to go now. He had been sent to my home so we were going to pray. I do not miss God assignments. This man needed God’s help as much as he needed a successful ad – if not more.

As we all got up, I said “now we need to pray and ask God to help you.” So here we are, two giants and me bare footed – without the extra couple of inches a pair of shoes would have added. He wasn’t quite sure what was going on. He hadn’t expected a pray circle to be the next point of business. This is where the handshake and the exchange of business cards normally takes place. He said he was Jewish. I told him “so was Jesus.” “Yes, he was” he agreed. It was time for hands to be held. My husband made the same comment he makes every time it is a man we are praying with – “I never held so many guys hands in my life as I have since I met Carolyn.”

Okay hands are held, I bowed my head and closed my eyes. I do this to show reverence and because I am interceding at the throne and speaking to God on their behalf not speaking with them. In that moment it is me and the Lord.

“Heavenly Father. Your word says that when two or more are gathered together you are with them. Thank You that Your Word is true and that you desire to fellowship with us. I thank you for this divine appointment and the opportunity to pray over my brother. I pray for Your Perfect Divine Will for his life and the life of his son. I pray for holy spirit divine wisdom as he runs his business. I pray for your favor. I pray for your anointing on each and every ad that is mailed out. I pray that you will provide for him over and above what he needs for his household so that he will have the finances to help others and to serve the kingdom. I pray that You will draw him close to you. I pray that will protect and guide him, give him your peace and provide for all his needs. I pray that you will reveal Jesus to him. I pray this in the name of Jesus, Amen.”

This is the prayer I pray for people. I add to the prayer whatever concerns they share with me or anything I feel in my spirit I should add. It tells them that God is their Heavenly Father. I remind them that the bible says when two or more agree on something on earth, it is done in heaven. It tells people that God has a purpose and plan for their lives. It tells people that God wants to have a relationship with them. It tells them that God is a God of provision. He cares about their needs. He cares about them.

After hearing these words, most people change their thinking about God. They stop seeing God dressed in a Judge’s robe banging the gavel and writing in a notebook every time they mess up and start seeing God as the Father celebrating the return home of his prodigal son. In that story in the bible, the prodigal son asks for his share of the inheritance and leaves home. After squandering everything on food, women and drink, he finds himself penniless and homeless. He returns to his father’s home hoping to be allowed to eat and sleep with the servants. But instead he finds a father who missed him so much. A father that is so happy that he has returned safely home, that he showers him with kisses and prepares a great feast. That is the God I want you to see. That is who God is. He welcomes us back. He wants us to be in relationship with Him. He pursues us. He calls to us. He cries out for us.

After praying, he said thanks. I told him that the Jewish people who have come to know that Jesus is, in fact, the long awaited messiah, son of God, have most often discovered that not from a Christian telling them so but from reading the entire Old Testament. Those that read the entire Old Testament, come to believe in the words of the New Testament, because of the over six hundred scriptures that God fulfilled to point the way to Jesus Christ.

I shared with him this truth.”When God is trying to call you on your cell phone, and you don’t pick up,He either sends me to you or you to me to tell you to pick up the phone.”He knew that God was trying to reach him. He knew that he had put the phone on vibrate so he wouldn’t hear it ring when God’s name was on the caller ID. He knew that he had tried to smother it under the pillow so it wouldn’t ring in the middle of the night.

He just smiled at me. The same smile that has been smiled to me this past week at least five times by five different people I gave the same message to. Five different people who knew that God was calling but were too scared to answer. “Okay, I’ll pick up the phone” he said before he turned and headed to his car.

Picking up the phone is the start of everything. So is that message for you this day? Have you been screening God’s calls because you are afraid to hear the voice on the other side. A voice you expect to be filled with anger and condemnation. I am here to tell you this day, pick up the phone!! There is a loving, kind father on the other end who wants to hear your voice and show you love and acceptance. He wants to be your GPS. He wants you to know Him. He already knows everything about you – and about me. And amazingly, He still loves us. Unconditionally. Absolutely unconditionally. Not for what we have done or will do, but for who we are. Answer the phone so that you can find out who you can be with Him. I will tell you this day. You can only be all that you were created to be with Him and only with Him.

You might say “I could never just pray with someone I don’t know. How would I know what to say.” Pray first for boldness. Pray for an increase in faith that you will believe that God wants to use YOU to reach those who mourn, those who ache, those without hope. Ask for the wisdom of Solomon that you will know what to pray. Ask for the strength to be obedient. Simply ask to be used. Tell God you are available. That’s the only requirement to join God’s army. There is no IQ test. No physical fitness test. Just get out of bed and ask God to use you, because He needs you to be his hands and feet, his voice and ears on this earth. When you step out in faith, He will give you the words He wants you to speak. The words he wants you to write. I know this to be true.