“Let’s ask The Lord for a word for our waiter,” I suggested to my husband. We were at a chain restaurant in Florida and didn’t know a soul in town. All we knew of our waiter was that he was from Morocco, and was a student.
When we blessed the food, we asked God to speak to us about this young man. I sensed The Lord say that his father was in need of physical healing. My husband didn’t pick up on that word. I wondered, Should I say something? Or just let it go? If I was wrong in what I thought I heard, there could be a distinct foolishness about it.
At the end of our meal, when our waiter brought the check, I decided to go for it. I asked him if his parents were here in the States.
“They’re in Morocco,” he told me. (That established for me that they were both living).
“Well, we were just saying grace and I asked The Lord for a blessing for you,” I told our waiter. “And I felt God say that you had a father who was in need of physical healing.” I looked up at him.
“My father just had quadruple bypass surgery,” the young man said, staring back at me.
“That must be tough to be so far away from him,” I replied.
He nodded. “How did you know this again?” he asked, gesturing in a puzzled way.
I explained again how we’d prayed at our table and asked The Lord for a blessing for him. Then I told him that we’d pray and believe for his father’s full recovery. The young man looked amazed, and when we got up to leave moments later, he said “God bless you.”
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 14:24-25 that when prophesying to an unbeliever, “the secrets of his heart are disclosed; and so he will fall on his face and worship God, declaring that God is certainly among you.”
Paul was talking in this context about the church prophesying when it assembles, and an unbeliever or ungifted (in spiritual gifts) Christian walking into that atmosphere. Paul says that The Lord will reveal things to believers that only God could know about the individual, and in doing so, open a channel directly to the person’s heart, bringing him or her to a place of repentance.
God has been revealing this to be an effective tool for advancing the kingdom of heaven outside of the church as well. This is not the first time that He’s disclosed a secret about a stranger to me when I’ve asked Him. Words of knowledge are also one of the nine gifts of the Spirit listed in 1 Corinthians 12. Sometimes a word will pop up in the mind, or hang in the air over someone, that is key to a condition or challenge they’re facing, but also to offer encouragement.
If He gives this gift for me and for others, He’ll do it for you. It is the Holy Spirit who whispers these hidden things, and it is all to glorify Jesus Christ (1 John 4:2). And it is God’s will for all believers to prophesy (1 Cor. 14:5), which means simply to speak forth the word of God.
While I am still waiting for the first person to drop to their knees and surrender totally to Christ in such an encounter, we’ve certainly witnessed God’s touch. One waitress recently was so moved when we shared what God had revealed to us about her having a son in turmoil, that she began crying tableside as she spilled out the details of him being on medications since he was a small child. After we’d left, my husband and I thanked the Lord for His word and began declaring blessings over this child, whose name she’d shared with us. We truly believed as we prayed for this unknown boy that something was breaking in the heavenlies, and that this waitress would go home to further revelation of Jesus Christ through her child.
If you are new to this concept of asking God to reveal the secret’s of someone’s heart, whether in a restaurant, grocery store, train, or wherever, I encourage you that it is not some mystic experience or only for the super-spiritual Christian. It is for the heart that is seeking first the kingdom of heaven (Matt. 6:33). It is the Holy Spirit who hears and discloses the truth (John 16:13), and this same Holy Spirit dwells in all believers.
On a practical note, it is wise to be in the scriptures daily to recognize God’s voice. For as Pastor Tim Dilena of the Brooklyn Tabernacle once said, holding up a Bible, “He sounds like this.” And since stepping out in this kind of faith involves an element of risk, having a Christian friend or spouse tuning in as well can help you confirm what you’re hearing.
What always amazes me about these encounters, these “heart secrets” that the Holy Spirit gives, is the kindness of God. He is so, so compassionate. What He’s revealing to these “sinners” is that what they care most about is on His mind – that He’s aware of their deep pain and what lies behind the smiles. He wants to bring healing, reconciliation, truth. What a God we serve that deals in such a way with those whose hearts might be very far from Him!
And best of all, He asks us His people to partner with Him in this adventure of bringing the kingdom of heaven to earth – what an adventure!