Last week, I was called in to do an interview about what I do at work–facilitate professional development at the District level in the area of Instructional Technology. The interview was great because it allowed me to share what I’ve been doing the last 4.5 years. As I kept talking, I was getting more and more excited because the conversation–essentially a summary of what we’ve done–reminded me of how far we’d come.
At the end of the interview, after the digital recorder and tape recorder were turned off, the interviewer–a Harvard ph.D of Asian descent–looked over at me and said, “Do you have any spiritual motivations for what you’re doing?” I was shocked by the question. We were sitting in a public school building in a room to ourselves, but this lady had clearly crossed the line.
However, an honest question gets an honest answer. I responded, “Yes. Ever since I’ve been working with children, later with adults, I have felt that my work touches people for eternity. What I show someone in class isn’t as important as how i do it, and even then, all work done is a prayer.” I shared that I am a Christian. The researcher appeared overjoyed to hear this. In a few minutes, I understood why.
“I could tell from the moment I met you that you were a Christian.” She said a lot more about her impressions, but let’s just say that while those comments were great, I was reeling from the shock of having a spiritual conversation in that public school building. It was a surreal experience, I kid you not. Perhaps, one can even characterize it as “supernatural.” She shared her experiences as a Christian, but she used those to amplify my experiences, to help me view them through a different filter.
I shared with her the story of Peter in the boat and Jesus commandment to come to him. I likened the experience to that of educators who are struggling to overcome fear and oppression represented by current legislation. As we ended our conversation, she started to reach across the table to take my hand but stopped short…neither one of us wanted to cross the line of propriety. We had connected as Christians in our beliefs and sharing of the Spirit, an experience that does NOT happen every day for me with absolute strangers. I jokingly said to myself (internally) that I needed to hang out with more born again Christians or more strangers….
She asked me, “Do you mind if we pray?”
“Not at all,” I replied. I bowed my head, closed my eyes and entered into meditation. The prayer she spoke was Spirit-filled. I was immediately touched by the words and I hadn’t felt the Spirit like that in a long time. That very day, I remember experiencing despair that K-12 education would ever see change and “giving it up to God” on my drive to work.
But, praying with this person I had never met before and probably wouldn’t see again, her words hit me like a freight train, again and again. She prayed that God give me the courage to be bold, and being bold, that I might go out and do what needed to be done. She made a connection to Peter’s story of walking on the waves, she prayed for my wife and I and blessed me in what I had done.
I have to tell you that everything she said shook me to my core because I needed to hear it, experience it in prayer. I only wish the digital audio recorder I had with me had been indeed been on to record the prayer. I told her that I would never again doubt God answered prayers quickly. The prayer restored my confidence and left me exhilirated. I shared the story with others, and meant to write sooner here, but other events took precedence.
I honestly wish I could share exactly how the prayer went, but the euphoria of the moment washed the words from my mind. I do not remember them. I like to describe this as receiving one’s daily bread, not counting on prepared words or speeches, only trusting to the Lord and letting the Spirit guide one. This had been my experience with the Spirit before so I was not surprised that it was what happened. When I left that meeting, I knew God had answered me and I knew that both the Harvard researcher and I had shared a moment of communion that would stay with us both forever.
When I called, you answered me; you made me bold