This week I had the opportunity to attend the SoCal Summit for the Assemblies of God. It's an annual get-together of pastors, leaders and missionaries.
This year I was drawn by one of the main speakers--Mark Batterson. Mark is the lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington D.C. and quite the revolutionary leader and thinker. His podcasts, blogs and book have challenged and encouraged me many times. Mark is one of the "teachers" in my life.
As he finished speaking on Tuesday night, Mark sat down and the audience was led into a prayer and worship time at the altars.
While worshipping, God spoke to my heart..."Go pray for Mark".
I questioned what I was sensing..."God, he's the main guy here tonight and I'm just Bart...Who am I to do this?...This is way outside my comfort zone...Can't you get someone else?"
Again God spoke, but more emphatically..."Go pray for Mark...
He has ministered to you and now you need to pay back."
So I left my seat and walked over to the front row center where Mark was seated. He had his head in his hands, praying and worshiping. As I squatted down near him, I said..."Mark, you don't know me, but God wants me to pray for you. How can I pray?"
With tears in his eyes, He told me he was physically exhausted from the 8 Easter services he had been involved in and then the travel to SoCal. He also shared that he had his family with him on the trip (wife & 3 kids) and wanted to really connect with them.
So I prayed for Mark as a pastor and father--just like him.
Honestly, I don't really know what that was all about...why God would use me in that way. But I do know that it was incredible to step outside my comfort zone and be used by God.
Following the experience, a passage came to mind..."Strength! Courage! Don't be timid; don't get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take." (Joshua 1:9 MSG) Ironically, this happens to be my favorite verse in the Bible.
I think I know why God has placed this verse deep within me...
God will lead me into areas where I need to know He is with me.