A Heavenly Partnership - Following
the Holy Spirit

Sherry Harney

March, 2024

No one likes standing in a line.  And, when the line is long and not moving, it is even less fun.  Yet, this is exactly where I was when God taught me a powerful lesson about following the Holy Spirit on His mission to reach others with the love of Jesus.

I had been stuck in a line for over thirty minutes waiting to check in for an international flight.  Everyone was feeling the tension and I was just standing there looking at the back of the heads of the people in front of me.  Then, like a gentle whisper from heaven, I felt the Holy Spirit prompting me to turn around and begin a conversation with the woman standing behind me.  I have learned that, even when it feels a little awkward, it is always best to respond to these gentle nudges.  So, I turned around, introduced myself, and we started chatting.

It might help if I turn the clock back a few hours and share my morning routine.  Each day when I wake up, I ask the Lord to lead me by His Holy Spirit.  Before I roll into all the responsibilities of the day, I ask God if He would graciously open doors for opportunities to share his love, care, and message of hope with the people I encounter that day.  This is a brief exercise but it is a prayer from the depth of my heart.  I let God know that I am available to the heavenly partnership He wants to invite me into.

When I sense this is happening, I don’t over-analyze or evaluate, I simply seek to take a step forward.  I take action and try my best to follow the nudges of the Holy Spirit.  On this particular day, this meant making a simple 180-degree turn around in the line and saying, “Hello!”  to the woman behind me.  Then I let God lead me from there.

I had already gone through the obligatory hello and chatted about how long the line was so now I had to engage in a new way.  I turned around and asked her, “Is your trip for business or pleasure?”  She thought for a moment and said, “It is not for business, but it will not be pleasurable.”  She went on to tell me that she was headed into a situation where a family member was in some real trouble and it became clear that her heart was truly troubled.  I listened, entered into her turmoil and pain, and was careful not to press her to share too much personal information.

After a short time of talking and agreeing that life does have a lot of trouble that comes our way, I felt a sincere desire to pray for her.  I felt that God wanted to minister to her.  I gently let her know that I would love to pray for her and all she was walking into.  I even explained that we did not need to close our eyes but I could pray for her right there in line, with our eyes wide open. She expressed openness to me praying so right there, in the line, with eyes open, I prayed for God to supply her with all she would need for the days ahead.  When I said, “In Jesus’ Name, Amen!” she had tears in her eyes and asked if she could give me a hug.  We embraced and I assured her I would keep praying for her in the days ahead.  It was clear to me that God had invited me into His plan and He had answered the prayer I had lifted up that morning.

Here are four simple ideas that have helped me, on many occasions, to follow the Holy Spirit into a time of partnership in God’s ministry to people I encounter in the flow of an ordinary day:

"I ask God if He would graciously open doors for opportunities to share his love, care, and message of hope with the people I encounter that day."

  1. Begin the day with a simple prayer. “God lead me, direct my steps, I am available if you open the door!”
  2. When you feel God leading, relax! God changes hearts and God is on the move.  Our role is to humbly follow His promptings and nudges. (1 Cor. 3:5-9)
  3. Look for next steps. Can you offer a prayer, share a Scripture, give a resource, or tell a story about how God has led you?  If God shows you a next step, take it.
  4. Share the simple and beautiful story of Jesus. If they are open and you have asked permission, tell them about Jesus’ love, life, and sacrifice.  There is power in His Name.
  5. Follow-up when possible.  Exchange email or texts. Drop them a note.  Check up and see how they are doing.  God might just grow a relationship from this encounter.

 

A couple of months after my encounter in the line at the airport, I received this email:

 

Subject Heading: Thank You

 

Hi Sherry,

We met while waiting in line at the airport in November. I just wanted

to thank you again for your prayers and for the few moments of

friendship you gave me during a very stressful time in my life. As it

turns out, things were even worse than we thought, …but I wanted to

let you know that I felt that your prayers really did help and that they

gave me comfort and strength in the difficult situation I found myself.

Thank you so much for that, it really feels like it was no coincidence that I met you when I did.

 

Sherry Harney is the co-founder of Organic Outreach International, the Spiritual Development Director at Shoreline Church in Monterey California, and author of Praying with Eyes Wide Open, soon to be re-released by Zondervan as Organic Prayer in June of 2024.

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