As a student, I was active in the spiritual life of the campus as well. For a couple of years, I was able to lead a non required worship on Friday nights after the vespers which we called “Afterglow.” I have to say that those worship times were precious and I just loved to hear the singing, the testimonies and prayers of the students. The numbers grew and the Lord used this to distinguish me as a spiritual leader. As a result, I had the privilege of recruiting for the college, speaking to youth and young adults at camp meetings during the summer.
I had a particularly interesting experience at “Woody Acres”, the camp near St. John, Newfoundland. It is a small camp meeting, but such a blessing. The simple lifestyle of the people and their remarkable faith made it such a rich experience for me. Even then, I loved to talk about the practical reality of God as expressed through the cross. To lift up Jesus and to have Him draw us closer through bible study and prayer was a theme of the week and following one evening meeting, a pleasant young woman, not much younger than me approached and asked if she could have a word with me. As this was fine with me, we found a spot in the common area and we had a chance to become acquainted.
She told me that she loved the Lord and had recently accepted Christ and had become a member of the church. What was of concern, was that she was struggling in that she felt so empty at times and had lost her first love experience. In her mind, she believed that the Lord loved her, but was beginning to question whether she was actually in a saving relationship with Him. I told her that it was not uncommon for people to really struggle with the life of faith because the devil was not anxious to lose us to Christ and that he would increase his work to discourage us in our faith walk. I asked her about her devotional walk and her response somewhat troubled me.
She said that she would consistently get up at about 5 am, would wash her face, kneel at her bed side, open her bible to read and pray for an hour, but the exercise was leaving her feeling so empty and unfulfilled. I struggled in how to help her as her devotional life was more consistent and lengthy than mine, so I asked her if I could pray about it before I would counsel her. She was fine with this and we met a number of times to discuss this further and to pray. On the final Friday evening, we met and I asked her to again tell me of her devotional life and she said that after she would read and pray for 45 minutes or so, she would close the bible and then enter into the day. When she made the motion of closing her bible, I asked her if she believed that God would speak to her only through the scriptures? Apparently, she had not thought about the ongoing Presence of the Holy Spirit.
In this my devotional experience had been different from hers in that I enjoyed studying and praying through scripture, but asked God to open my mind to the possibilities of an unbroken communion with Christ through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. She was thrilled with my gentle reminder and we agreed to meet for worship the next morning before Sabbath School.
She had stayed up a half the night rejoicing in the thought that she could experience God more fully and I believe that is why we had such a remarkable experience as we closed our prayer time the next morning. I simply invited the Lord to walk with us into the day and to reveal Himself to her and myself in terms that we would understand. When we got up and took a step to leave, it was as though the Lord was between us and I felt a physical touch on my shoulder. I stopped and asked her if she felt it as well. To this, she teared up and I told that this was what I was telling her about. The reality of Jesus is ours as we pray and allow Him to lead us through the day. To “practice” His Presence is the privilege of every son and daughter of God.
Jesus said that it was to our advantage that He would go away, because He would send the Comforter to us. If you are going through a dry spell in your devotions, I would invite you to ask God to simply reveal Himself to you during the next 30 days in terms that you would understand. Claim a promise each day and ask Him to fulfill it either in your life or the life of someone you might help. The Lord promises to “never leave us or forsake us” and I believe that He will help you just as certainly as He helped us that day!