It is a narrow way, scripture tells us, to Jesus (see Matthew 7:14). Scripture also tells us that it is worth it (I don’t even know where to cite, it’s really the ongoing theme). But do I actually believe what I’m reading, or am I just going through the motions? I’ve heard people scoff at the idea of doubting God’s way for even a moment, and I recoil in embarrassment.
At the end of the day I realize that I do trust God and his way and His walk, no matter how hard it gets. And I would shout it from the roof top, that I trust God! I would dance before Him and I would sing of His goodness at church.
But would I tell my friends who don’t believe in God, that they are loosing out? Would I speak up around the dinner table and request that we stop bickering and instead lift our concerns to God in prayer? Would I pray for my classmates, out loud, and in front of a group of them?
Woah. Whole different story.
That would actually involve digging deeper into my faith rather than trusting blindly. That would mean standing behind what I believe. My friends are not going to accept Him on a whim; they are going to need to hear a heartfelt testimony and truth. I assume that they can smell doubt.
Today I had that very opportunity; to share my faith, and to share it boldly. It was a unique and very blessed opportunity that I just couldn’t turn down, and I am so glad that it didn’t just pass me by. I hope you will be encouraged by my story.
The last 3 months I have been taking a class called, ‘The Body in Performance.’ Our final project was to make a 5-10 minute performance piece that centered around the body and the behavior codes which people are often expected to “perform.” As most people would, I reflected on myself, society, things that bothered me, things that I have wanted to express but never could.
As my ideas evolved they became more and more complex. There was no solid guide line that I was following and so the sky was the limit–poems, monologues, and evocative dances all crossed my mind. But it was on the subway coming home from discipleship group that God got a hold of me and my looming presentation. I got this crazy idea to use prayer as a weapon against apathy, disbelief, and to give hope; I wanted to pray for my classmates. Right there. In class.
God softened any fears that could have taken over at this point because I felt more excited than anything. Specific presentation details slowly but surely fell into place, as I became more inspired. It became a fluent, and some would say beautiful, performance piece. Strangely enough I was actually more afraid of an awkward presentation than of praying in front of 30 university students. Go figure.
And now the presentation has come and gone, and I am sitting here reflecting on what God has done in and through me. I am rocked by how good He is, and how amazingly it went.
I chose to begin by quoting Isaiah 40:28-31, and meanwhile the song, “The Lake House” by Rachel Portman played softly. As I looked into the audience of students, trying to avoid their gaze, I noticed a few people with smiles that began to spread from ear to ear. They must be Christians too, I thought. A few affirming nods here and there confirmed that they had the exact same idea as me: it’s about time God’s name was spoken on this campus!
Next, I quoted John the Baptist: “I must decrease, so that He may increase.” As Far as I can remember, the class looked content with with what I had said so far–no huge offenses made. I explained that what I have is no longer my own (not my money or time or plans) and that now, it’s all about Him. It’s not about me. Right about here God just about blew me off my feet with a rush of emotion–I could barely believe that I was standing in front of my peers, telling them about God. I have never felt so naked and vulnerable, spiritually.
I told them that I wanted to use prayer to encourage them, and offered to pray for anything that they felt comfortable enough to share. My memory begins to go fuzzy around this point but I do remember speaking eloquently, which is a total miracle. Three people raised their hands and I breathed a huge sigh of relief. They are hearing me, and they are hearing God! I wrote down their prayer requests, cued the power point presentation I had prepared which had various verses throughout, and then encouraged the class to then do as they felt comfortable; pray with me, close their eyes or watch the slides.
I prayed the most nervous and shaky prayer of my life. I don’t recall very much of it, to be honest, but it felt very real and very good. Every few hours after I’ve been recalling a part of the prayer which had come out sounding nice, not that it matters. When I opened my eyes I turned around to see my very last slide (which had somehow timed itself perfectly with the end of my prayer) which read: He is Good. I smiled.
And so it was over and done–no wars had broken out, and no shouts of outrage had been heard. Just a presentation of prayer which will linger in my memory and (hopefully) the memory of those who were there. Some may have left unchanged and some may have been offended. Some may have prayed for the first time. And some things are sure: Many students came to class and were met with an unexpected message. Three people approached me after wards, thanking me for praying. I am now braver than I was yesterday. One friend admitted he was still unsaved. I have a new friend to pray for. God is still Good.