Whenever I visit my family in southern Washington, I often take a walk around the town’s central park. Last weekend while there I headed outside a little before dinner for my usual jaunt.
“Which direction should I go?” I half-asked myself, half God in a semi-prayer fashion. I got an image of a gas station which reminded me of what a few of my friends have described as “prophetic treasure hunts” where they ask God for an image then go find it, then ask what God wants them to do or say there.
The nearest gas station I knew of was about a mile away.
“I’ll show you what to do when you get there,” I sensed God say. So I headed in that direction.
I had thought the nearest gas station was on the same side of the street as me, but the first one I spotted was opposite, just beyond Lowe’s and Fred Meyer.
“Is that it?”
“That’s the one.”
I headed towards it, praying God would speak through me and not let the person remember me but merely the words God wanted them to hear.
When I arrived, I instantly knew God had a word for the woman behind the counter. I had no money or credit card with me so couldn’t buy anything even if I wanted. I pretended to browse the energy drinks and candy while praying God would reveal to me what to say. Although I’m new at practicing receiving a word for others-even in a church setting- I’ve been amazed when God gives a message that’s totally on-point, particularly when it’s a for a stranger or someone I barely know.
As I prayed, customers streamed in as if this was the only shop in town! I continued to pray and God showed me that this woman was going through some changes. However, God wanted to take care of her and heal her son. At last the place cleared and I approached her at the counter.
“So God told me to come to this gas station and give you a word of encouragement,” I said. “I don’t know if you’ve been going through a rough time…”
“Nope. Things are actually pretty great in my life right now,” she replied with smug enthusiasm.
“Or maybe your son…”
“No, things are better than they’ve been in a long time.”
“Well I’m just down here visiting from Seattle,” I said, my face flushing. “I came for a walk and thought God wanted me to come here and affirm that you are noticed and cared for.”
“I just moved here from Seattle,” she replied curtly. Then she described how the rising house prices had forced her to leave. I commiserated with her for a few minutes about Seattle housing then wished her God’s blessings and left.
As I headed towards my aunt and uncle’s house, I acknowledged to myself that I’m still a baby in practicing the gift of hearing God speak on account of others. The woman had been so distant and probably didn’t even have a son. However, I had sensed the presence of God’s Spirit while browsing Gatorade and Red Bull in the same way that I do when worshiping at church.That was cool. Why had I been surprised? Jesus was born in a barn, so God can show up anywhere! I was encouraged that even though my message had seemed a bit off, I had felt the presence of God in a gas station. Now, I was done for the day.
“Go back,” I heard God whisper.
“What? God, she already thinks I’m crazy.”
“I need to get home for dinner. My family will be waiting for me.”
“Go back and let Me show you what I will do. Watch Me work!”
“OK, God. I’ll go back. But You’ve gotta give me a word for her first.”
I sat down on the curb outside of Lowe’s and placed my head in the palm of my hands. I got a vision that indicated she felt swallowed by life–perhaps she was struggling financially. After all, she worked at a a gas station and had just relocated due to unaffordable rent. I determined to go back and ask her if I could pray a financial blessing on her. Who doesn’t want that? I anticipated that even if she said “I don’t believe in God” I would tell her that she doesn’t have to for me to pray a blessing-I believe in God and that this God wants to bless her!
When I arrived the place was quiet. As soon as she saw me her face slightly lit up.
“Can I pray a financial blessing over you?” I asked.
“Yes!” she replied. Then continued, “After you left, I thought I should have told her how I came to move down here. I’d lived my entire life in Seattle and never even heard of the town of Longview. But then our landlord decided to sell our house and we couldn’t find anything that would accommodate my disabled parents and my two sons unless we earned $15k a month. My mom never prays, but she prayed for housing. That was the first time she had prayed in YEARS. And right after she did, we looked up and saw three doves flying. A the same time, her phone buzzed with a zillow posting for Longview. We started looking at houses in this town and discovered they were much more affordable. We came down to look in-person and the first one we saw had only been posted 15 minutes earlier-they weren’t even ready to show it yet when we arrived. But it had four bedrooms and was perfect for us. We got that house and then I got this job right away. The owner actually knew me from when I worked at a station of his in Renton 11 years ago.”
“Wow, thank you for sharing that story with me,” I said in awe.
“I think you’re prayer for financial blessing has to do with some funds we’ve been waiting on for hospital bills,” she continued. “You see, my dad had a stroke recently.” She also told me that one of her sons had a chronic illness.
“Yes, God was trying to show me something about your son and his health.”
So I prayed, right there in the gas station. I prayed a financial blessing over this woman, her sons and her parents.
When I stepped out the door a second time, my phone was buzzing with texts from my family asking where I was. But my faith had grown from this simple experience in trusting God and seeing how this woman and her family were in fact cared for deeply.