II. The Pool
III. The Games
IV. The Sessions
I had a lot of thoughts as I woke up that day in Florida, but one of them wasn’t, “This day is going to change my life.” I had many expectations coming into this retreat, but I never thought that they would be greater than I could ever dream. There were so many beautiful things that day – the refreshing first dip in the pool of the summer, the beach breeze, the scenery, and the echos of all the laughter. But none of those things compare to what we were able to see that night.
Mark Prater was preaching that night and after hearing him a couple of times in the past, I was looking forward to it. He preached on God’s presence and the Spiritual gifts. They were things I’d heard preached on before but they’re impossible to hear without your soul stirring. Afterwards, he asked people to come up if they needed prayer. The entire room literally went to the front. Everyone found themselves praying for others, being prayed for, or placing their hands on other people being prayed for. Some prayed for spiritual gifts. Some prayed for numbness in their souls to be awakened.
I, personally, had been feeling empty lately. Previously during life and going into the retreat, God had been doing a work but I felt the lack of joy in all circumstances I knew I needed. I was disappointed by my lack of desire towards God’s word and this left me dry. All the things I have passion for – missions and evangelism especially – weren’t treated with the same excitement in my heart. When he spoke of this numbness, I knew I needed radical change in my life.
I went up there and was listening to another friend being prayed for when a girl I didn’t know came up and asked if she could pray for me. I told her what I was dealing with and she continued to pray for me just the way I needed. I didn’t ever know her name, but that girl prayed for me in exactly the way I most needed. My word for 2013 was ignite and that is exactly what happened to my soul – it caught on fire that night because through that prayer I was very aware of God’s continued work in my life even despite my dryness.
Even after the session ended, we all continued prayer for one another. Eventually, we all ended up outside in courtyard just talking of what God’s done. As I looked among those faces in the dark, I was aware of God’s faithfulness. Two years ago, I was a girl who was so shy she wouldn’t talk to anyone. I thought these people around me were strange. A year ago, they were my friends but our conversations were shallow and I still battled both shyness and anger towards my friendships. Yet there we were, praying for each other and talking about out struggles. What a God we serve!
And it was only half-way through the retreat! To be Continued….