As I was walking through the room to one of the tables around dinner time, a man I’ll call Vincent lying on a mat spoke out to get my attention. I hadn’t met him before but he said, “Excuse me, I wondered if I could get some prayer.”
Who could refuse that! “Sure, I’d love to pray with you. He got up and we went to sit in the back corner on a pew where it was more private. He told me he had been saved a long time ago, but had fallen into bad habits. He hadn’t been living for God and couldn’t get out of the rut he was in. We talked about his life. Although he’d come to know God, he still enjoyed sin. He didn’t want to, but he did. I explained that sometimes we come to Christ but never really understand who we are IN Christ, so we bring out old life into our new life.
Then, he told me he wanted to sing me something for me. He said, “I believe this is true. Can I sing it? I need you to hear it.” I wish I could remember the words, but He began singing a song about being free in Christ. It was beautiful. “He looked at me with hopeful eyes and said, “It’s true. Isn’t it?” He looked at me wanted to confirm that it was. I smiled and said, “It is. If you believe in Christ, it is true.”
“If it is true, then why do I still like the sinful stuff I’m doing?” He explained that He used to love to sing gospel songs and he just couldn’t get out from under the weight of what he’d been living like. He didn’t think he was worthy of God anymore, but the words of that song were hope to him.
Jesus hung out where it seemed like there was no hope for anyone, but there is always hope, I explained. “We don’t clean up to come to God. We come to God and he cleans us up!”
He paused for a moment, then with a new smile on his face, he said, “That is just what I needed to hear! I’ve never heard it put like that!”
“If you want to change, then you can. Let’s just start over, that’s repentance. You just need to change your thinking? What you sang is true. You just have to believe it. How about if you just recommit your life to God.”
“Yes, could we do that?”
“The Word says that when we come to Him he makes ALL things new, so let’s take Him up on that promise.” We prayed and just asked God to forgive what was past. He confessed belief and that God forgave Him. We thanked God for a new start and prayed for freedom from every stronghold that bound him.” God intervened as we prayed.
As he looked up he said, “Wow, thank you. I feel so much lighter. I just needed to hear that.” Vincent is quite a singer. He began singing Amazing Grace and wanted me to join him. The whole room was full of men, doing other things and we were in the corner singing, oblivious to what anyone else thought. It was really a beautiful moment, singing with someone who has just missed worshiping for so long because he felt unworthy. He finally believed that he could sing the words and they were HIS truth.
A few days later, I happened to be at WARM and Vincent came running over to me. He was so excited. “I can’t get over this. I just feel joy like I never have and it doesn’t go away. Could you pray with me about one more thing.” We prayed about one more thing. Then, he wanted to sing again. It was 9:30 and all the other men were quiet and in bed. The lights were dim, so no matter how quiet we sang, everybody was going to hear. I couldn’t say no. So we praised God sort of quietly by the door while everybody lay still, almost asleep and just celebrated how amazing it was to know Jesus. It was the first and probably only night that everybody got sung to sleep, but it was beautiful.
I don’t think there could be any greater reward for a servant of Christ than to celebrate moments like this with a once broken, now shining child of God. I once was lost, but now I’m found. Was blind but now I see.