Have you evern wondered what people mean when they say I felt "prompted" to do something? Especially in Christian circles we tend to throw this word around a lot. Sometimes it is code for "I'm going to do what I want to do and if I say the 'spirit is prompting me' then you can't argue with my action or conclusion." I've actually had encounters with Christian people who are getting a divorce with no biblical grounds for it and justify their lack of commitment by saying, "the Spirit is leading me to end this marriage." Well, you can take this to the bank - the Spirit and the Word are NEVER in conflict...so if the Spirit is saying something the Word isn't saying, then it's not the Spirit you are hearing. But this blog isn't about that.
I'm talking about when as a Christian you actually feel the Holy Spirit moving you, inspiring you, prompting you. It's like saying in Acts 20:22 - "and now compelled by the Spirit, I'm going to Jerusalem..." or in Acts 16:6&7 when the Spirit prevented them from going into some areas for missions ("the Spirit of Jesus wouldn't allow them"). Here's how I've experienced this lately...a lot!
The Spirit prompts names for me. As you can imagine, in a church this large, I don't know every name (truth be told, I'm lousy with names and in a church of 200 I wouldn't know every name either - I sometimes forget my kids names...and I'm not joking!). But here's been my experience lately as i'm pastoring here. I'll be running, or sitting in my chair at home, or just riding my motorcycle, or watching baseball, or writing a sermon, really an 'ol time at all; and suddenly a name is in my head.
Usually it's totally unrelated. Sometimes it's my immediate family, sometimes it's people from church, sometimes people I haven't seen for years. But here's the crazy thing, the name keeps coming back. I mean if I just say internally, "that's weird" and go on; then a day later that name will be back. So I've made it a habit that if a name pops into my head - I pray for the person.
It is uncanny - miraculously spiritual - how many times I bump into these people a day or two or week later only to hear exactly what I was praying for unawares. Sometimes I "coincidentally" (and by that I mean providentially) run into people i haven't seen for months and then I put it all together. The Spirit is at work and I'd better pay attention. Because these names are promptings and I'm to keep in step with the Spirit...so how is the Spirit prompting you?