Saturday, September 29, 2012

Prayer for a Stranger



I awoke from a dream wondering about its significance, as it didn’t seem to immediately relate to anything happening in my life.  In the dream, my husband Richard and I, and many people I didn’t know, were wandering through the rooms of a large house that wasn’t really a house. One of the rooms had several tables set up to sell jewelry, and I was surprised and a little sad to see a pair of valuable earrings for sale that had been given to me long ago, and that I hadn’t even realized was missing. 

A petite woman with distinctive but unfamiliar features asked me if I wanted to buy her cell phone. I politely declined, but she kept following me through the building and became more and more insistent that I take her phone, to the point that I became irritated and just wished she would leave me alone. I awoke perplexed and annoyed that this stranger had troubled my otherwise sound sleep.

At breakfast, Richard reminded me that we had tickets for a vintage fashion show that evening. As we walked into the St. Petersburg Museum of History with many other guests, I had an eerie sense of déjà vu. There we were, strolling with the crowd through a large building with many rooms that resembled a house but was actually a museum. One of the rooms had several vendors’ wares on sale, including ornate and costly vintage earrings.

To my shock, it wasn’t long before I spotted the unknown woman from my dream! Her face and build were unmistakeably the same. Apparently she was a volunteer for the museum, and she was wearing a 60’s style pillbox hat. Thankfully, she didn’t ask me to buy her cell phone! In fact, she didn’t speak to me at all, even though we ended up close enough to strike up a conversation while standing around waiting for the runway show to begin.

Now I was really curious as to what the dream meant! All the similarities between the dream and the actual events could hardly be a coincidence. Surely God intended it to be a message, or a warning, or an instruction, but I still had no idea about what. When in doubt, wait upon the Lord (Isaiah 30:18; 40:31; Jeremiah 14:22; so I just stood where I was and didn’t attempt to speak to her, nor did she approach me.

While praying silently that the Spirit would guide me according to His perfect will (John 16:13; Romans 8:27), I felt led to pray for her salvation. Many times while waiting in line at a store, or seated alone at a restaurant table while Richard is at the cashier’s paying the check, or in a theatre when the lights dim and before the show begins, I have prayed a general prayer for all those in the building who are lost.

The prayer is that all will come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, the One Who died for all our sins to reconcile us to Holy God, so that by faith in His death, burial and resurrection all can have eternal life (1 Corinthians 15).

Yet this was the first time I felt led to pray for salvation for a specific stranger. I won’t know until I reach Glory whether my prayer had any effect, or even if it was needed, but I feel at peace about obeying God in what I believe He asked me to do (Philippians 4:6-7).

Reflecting later about the symbolism of the dream, I thought about the valuable earrings given to me, misplaced and forgotten, then offered for sale to another. This reminded me of the precious gift believers receive of being able to hear God’s voice (John 10:3,16,27) through the indwelling Holy Spirit. But if we quench or grieve the Spirit too many times (Ephesians 4:30; 1 Thessalonians 5:19), we may no longer be attuned to His voice.

At the moment of salvation, the Holy Spirit indwells each believer and will never leave (2 Corinthians 1:22; 5:5). At the same time, we receive at least one spiritual gift (1 Corinthians 12). Yet like any other gift, if we don’t use it, we may lose it, and not even realize it’s gone until we recognize it in another. It’s not the gift itself that disappears, but rather the opportunities to use it to glorify Him.

In the dream, the beautiful earrings I had received represented a wasted opportunity, as I had not worn them, and no one could appreciate their beauty if I kept them hidden in a box. Similarly no one will see His light shining through us if we hide it under a bushel basket instead of setting it on a candlestick for all to see (Matthew 5:14-16).

God opens doors for us to walk through in obedience (1 Corinthians 16:9; 2 Corinthians 2:12; Colossians 4:3; Revelation 3:8), but if we do not obey, that specific opportunity is lost, and we will suffer loss over it when we see Him face to face (1 Corinthians 3:15).

The ears of Christians need not be adorned with earrings (1 Peter 3:3)  but should be consecrated to His special use, along with our heart and mind, as a channel of communication with Him (1 Chronicles 17:20; Proverbs 23:12; Isaiah 30:21; Matthew 11:15; 13:9, 43). May we always be swift to listen to the Holy Spirit and slow to speak (James 1:17-19) until He gives us the words to say (1 Corinthians 2:11-13).

And why in the dream was this woman imploring me to take her cell phone? A means of communication is only effective in the hands of the right communicator. A state-of-the-art, bells and whistles I-Phone would be useless in my hands right now, as I would have no idea how to use it!  Even if I learned how to use it, what good would it do if I called someone in China who didn’t speak English, since I can’t speak Chinese?

Similarly, many lost people pray, but to whom or what? They may call themselves Christians because they were christened or confirmed or attend a church, but unless they have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:10), their prayers are to no avail.

The only prayer of a lost person that God will answer is the prayer of desperation, of realizing that they are a sinner who can do nothing on their own merit to work their way to Heaven (Ephesians 2:8-9). When the lost person comes to the end of themselves, begs God to forgive their sins (Romans 3:23-25; Acts 13:38; 26:18; Ephesians 1:7) and invites Jesus to enter their heart as their personal Lord and Savior, God will always hear that prayer and answer yes with the gift of eternal life! (John 3:16; Romans 10:9-10).

In addition to hearing God’s voice, another precious gift believers receive at salvation is the privilege of intercessory prayer (2 Corinthians 1:11). This unique form of communication is available only to God’s children (1 Corinthians 2:14).

Because of our relationship with Him, we can boldly approach His throne in prayer (Hebrews 4:16), not only for ourselves, our family, and fellow believers (James 5:16), but especially for the lost (Matthew 5:44; Luke 6:28). We can and should pray for the salvation of those we don’t even know, because we can communicate with God through prayer, and they are unable to until they trust Christ as their Savior (1 Peter 3:12).

It is not just those who “lead people to the Lord” by hearing them pray the sinner’s prayer who will receive the soulwinner’s crown (Philippians 4:1; 1 Thessalonians 2:19). All those who play any part in a soul’s salvation – by sowing the seed of the Word (2 Corinthians 9:10), by witnessing, by supporting missions, or by praying for the lost – will share in that crown and be able to lay it at Jesus’ feet (Revelation 4:10).

What a blessing it will be to hear Him say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant,” (Matthew 25:21,23) for whatever we did to reach others for Him!


© 2012 Laurie Collett



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(February 5, 2012):
 

61 comments:

  1. That is one amazing testimony Lori. I didn't believe in dreams until I had one myself which came true... my dream involved being aware of something terrible which seemed to have happened out at sea. I didn't know what it was, but I was aware that it had a connection with myself. I couldn't find anyone to communicate with to ask what had happened and I had a sense of deep anxiety. Some time passed and during a time when my husband was working away from home, I was awakened by another dream in which I could hardly breathe! I felt like something was sitting on my chest trying to smother me in my dream. All the time, I was trying to speak forth the words: "Jesus is Lord" but I felt almost paralysed to get the words out. It felt like my mouth was frozen. However, in this dream, I persevered to get the words, "Jesus is Lord" out and then I did finally manage to speak these words forth. Once I did, I felt the pressure release and could hear something shreek a very long "Noooooooooooooooo" as it disappeared into the darkness and I woke up.

    Some time after this, my husband was involved in a boating accident at sea and a young girl drowned. I was not informed about the accident by my husband's employer or the Police and actually found out through switching on the TV later that day when I came home from work (some 9 hours later).

    Since this time, I have also had another dream where of a long house with large windows. In the kitchen, there was 3 windows and I could see a thief trying to gain entry into one of the windows. This time I prayed about the dream and I believe God showed me that this was a warning dream re: the thief is Satan and he tries to gain entry into our lives to steal our peace, kill our joy, and destroy our faith. We need to be careful not to give him a foothold into our lives through unbelief, fear, lack of prayer and study of God's Word, etc.

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    1. ... meant to day, we bought an old steading to renovate just over a year ago... it is a very long building and it has lots of large windows, including 3 windows in the kitchen! The plans were fixed and I remember at the time being a little anxious when I noticed that the kitchen had 3 windows until I prayed to God about my dream and He showed me what Satan is trying to effect in my life. Around about this time, God led me to study the armour of God which I have posted about this weekend.

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    2. Wendy, I can really see God speaking in your dreams and that you are totally centered on Him. And you are so right about being careful of giving the devil a foothold in our lives. I feel a prompting to ask you...is there any chance that you have something in your house (i.e. a ouiji board, a book that gives inroads to evil such as Harry Potter, anything at all related to occult that on the surface seems harmless?) I can tell your heart is truly on the Lord, so that question may not apply. But I think that we innocently give footholds sometimes without realizing it, by having innocent looking objects in our homes that are tied in with things not of God. Just something to pray about, that God would reveal if there is anything you need to get rid of. I bought a video series for example that was based on a beautiful book series by the author of Anne of Green Gables. But they turned it into an extremely occult centered program series that is disturbing. I kept trying to find the good in it, but I think I need to just destroy it. ~ Pam, Apples of Gold

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    3. Amen, Wendy & Pam! We must be vigilant not to give the devil a stronghold in our lives. These days, that could be as easy as to turn on the TV or to go online! But these media can be used for good as well, & to spread His Word, as we bloggers know! So we do need discernment about what to do and where to go -- we must be in the world but not of it, & be salt and light.

      Wendy, your point about putting on the whole armor of God is well taken. Those are amazing dreams you had!

      I do believe God speaks to us in many ways -- primarily through His Word, also through Godly counsel, but also in more subtle ways such as through dreams. May we always be attuned to His still, small voice.

      Love to you both,
      Laurie

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    4. Pam, I have moved house since but there was nothing that I am aware of that could have any connection with the occult. I do however work with a couple of women who are deeply steeped in the occult. One is a witch. The other reads tarot cards. I have never had anything to do with either of them. My mother also dreamt of my father's death just a week before it happened. I don't know if there is something in her life which is affecting mine or not!

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    5. Should also mention that I have studied a fair bit re: spiritual oppression. I once had someone (who I believed was a CHristian, i.e. she went to a Christian church and said all the right things) pray over me. I didn't like to refuse her when she asked but I felt led to ask God to protect me from anything which was not Godly! She was praying in tongues (which I didn't like because I hadn't a clue what she was praying)! Shortly after this, another Christian told me she had asked to pray over them and as she did so, her voice had turned to that of a man! This other Christian was freaked out. I believe there may be a demonic oppression as a result of this woman praying over me. Regarding my mother, my mother worked in a children's home where this same woman who prayed in tongues over me was once a child. Mum remembered her and her twin sister having a ouiji board. They told the Christian manager of the children's home that he would have an accident and he did... a car accident. He left the children's home shortly afterwards. My dad died not long after also.

      I met this girl (now a woman) many years later at a Christian church and believed she was converted to Christ. However, as she was praying for me, I felt led to ask for God's protection (as aforementioned). I believe there was a demonic oppression connection to this woman#s prayers. However, I believe that greater is He who is in me than he who is in the world and praise God that He gives us weapons of warfare which are mighty through Him to use against such spiritual wickedness, and therefore, I need not be afraid.

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    6. As the devil realizes he is running out of time before Christ's return, the battle grows even more vicious. Praise God for the armor He has given us to resist Satan, and the discernment He gives us to warn us of false teachers and wolves in sheep's clothing.

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  2. Laurie, I am so teary by your post here. So much of what you said about praying intercession for strangers, praying in theaters etc for everyone there resonates with me so much, for I have long done that too. And your incredible dream, coming face to face with the woman in your dream, your prayers for her touch me deeply. I just posted about praying for a stranger most of my life (since childhood) -- someone who just died -- and my longing to know he is with the Lord. Your post is like another word from Him to me about how he uses our prayers beyond our imaginations. How God is moving so powerfully amongst us, nudging us to pray, giving dreams, any way he can to bring in the harvest. I am deeply moved by all you shared here, and hear Him speaking to me in it about the one I've lifted up so long. Thank you for sharing this. ~ Pam, Apples of Gold

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    1. Thank you, Pam, for your visit & comment that makes me teary also! I do believe that He is working amongst us for His glory, & I am blessed to know that this post is a confirmation to you, as your comment is to me! With God, there are no coincidences! I'm headed over to read your post now.
      God bless,
      Laurie

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  3. I meant to also say, it strikes me as interesting that we both wrote about praying for a stranger, and our links are side by side on Still Saturday... :) A sacred echo...

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  4. Laurie, is there a way to just sign up to get your posts sent to me on email? I see the google follow, but I always seem to have trouble getting that to work for me on other blogs... Pam

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    1. Hi Pam,
      If you scroll all the way down to the bottom of the home page, there is a "Subscribe to Posts" button to click that should get you an email subscription. I don't know why it's all the way down there, but hopefully that should work. If not, please let me know & I'll try to find out how it can be done.
      Thanks & God bless,
      Laurie

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    2. Thanks, I just scrolled down and found it. Only when I try to subscribe it asks me to choose bookmark or my yahoo etc. Do you know how that works? Usually when I subscribe to a blog it just automatically goes to my email. But not sure how it would appear in bookmark...? I added your link to my blog list of favorites so I can always come to your blog each day from the link too...

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    3. Hi Pam,
      Thanks for letting me know about this. I tried to add a "subscribe by email" gadget, but it has something to do with feeds that I haven't figured out yet. In the meantime, though, if you give me your email address, I can have the weekly posts sent to you. Mine is it000016@hotmail.com
      God bless,
      Laurie

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  5. Sometimes in my head during prayer I have the name of someone, who I don't know. I think that Holy Spirit give us directions for prayer for these people. Blessings to You, Laurie :)

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    1. Amen, Zim! May we always listen to how the Spirit directs us. Blessings to you also!
      Laurie

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  6. I wonder if she was asking you to telephone to heaven for her as she felt unworthy??? Which you did !

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    1. Thanks for your comment, A Joyful Noise! If she is unsaved, she may not be aware of her need for salvation. But it often seems that when unsaved people go through a trial, such as serious illness or a financial crisis, they ask believers for prayer for them, as they sense a "connection" to God unavailable to them.
      Love in Him,
      Laurie

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  7. In my years among the Navajo people I have had considerable experience with dreams, since the traditional religion places such emphasis on them. Several things can result in dreams. Isaiah 29:7-8 stresses that our desires can affect our dreams, such as when we are hungry or thirsty. Drugs, alcohol and exhaustion can cause us to allow Satan to gain access to our minds, and God can speak directly to us. It is critical we learn to distinguish which dreams came from God and which came from other sources. I John 4:1-8 gives some tools for testing whether the spirit causing the dreams is from God. Discerning of spirits is a gift of the Holy Spirit. While I suspect you know these things, some of your readers may not.

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    1. Excellent point, dfish! Discernment is vital, whether of teachings, teachers, or spirits. Certainly use of drugs or alcohol could result in dreams which are not of the Spirit. By their fruits ye shall know them, so if a dream results in a prayer for salvation of another through the completed work of Jesus Christ come in the flesh, it would appear to be of the Spirit. Thanks so much for your thought-provoking and Biblically-based comment, & God bless!
      Laurie

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  8. Dreams and prophesy over a person must line up with the scriptures, then we should have an impression in our own spirit whether this is from God of something we should allow to slide off our plate. We must be led of the Holy Spirit and now even follow a dream or a prophesy (or prayer) given over us, unless we have ourselves already heard from God. Thank you for this timely sharing at "Tell Me a Story."

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    1. So true, Hazel, we must always be aware that the Spirit would never guide us in a direction contrary to God's Word. His sheep hear His voice and follow Him. Thanks for your comment & for hosting, & God bless!
      Laurie

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  9. Thanks for sharing, God works in our lives all the time. We just have to be on guard and listen to him. I don't usually have dreams that mean much of anything, always wondered how God gave people dreams. :)

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    1. Thanks, Leslie! May we always hear His voice!
      Love in Him,
      Laurie

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  10. Love how God will sometimes take dreams to teach us more about who He is. I've often learned some beautiful lessons from dreams.

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Eileen! Blessings to you!
      Laurie

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  11. you saw the lady from your dream?!? i admit i stayed on this for quite a while, as it stunned me, for sure.

    beyond this, though, thank you for the gentle yet firm reminder that there is work for us to do, work of the highest sort.

    a great read, and thanks so much for sharing...

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  12. Yes, Steven -- the lady from the dream the night before surfaced in reality the next evening. I was definitely stunned to see her!

    Thanks so much for your kind words & encouragement.
    God bless,
    Laurie

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  13. Wow, Laurie, what an amazing experience! These things simply fascinate me and I don't know why I should be surprised that God would choose to speak in this way and then give you the wisdom to understand. He is so good.

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    1. Amen, Laura! God is so good to speak to His children, primarily through His Word, but in so many other ways, if we listen for His voice!
      Love in Him,
      Laurie

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  14. thanks for this fantastic encouragement to be sensitive to the Holy Spirit's gentle nudges.

    i've always considered those sorts of dreams/deja vus as the Lord giving me little glimpses into the plan He has already mapped out for me - and it is so reassuring to realize in such a very real way that He's not changing and that He's in control!

    blessings!

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    1. Thanks so much, Tim & Richelle, for your visit and sweet comment! Amen -- He is the same, yesterday, today and forever, & He has a perfect plan for us!
      God bless,
      Laurie

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  15. I've never thought to pray in general for strangers' salvation other than in a church service. Great habit! Thanks for sharing your experience with WIP!

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    1. Thanks for your encouraging comment, Mary Beth!
      Blessings to you,
      Laurie

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  16. nice post thanks for sharing..found you thrue other bloggers hope visiting more..blessings

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    1. Thanks so much, my simple reflections, for your visit & comment!
      God bless you,
      Laurie

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  17. Using dreams to guide us is such an interesting tactic the Lord uses!
    Michelle
    http://normalchaosforamultitaskmom.blogspot.com/2012/10/when-going-gets-tough.html

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    1. Hi Michelle,
      Thanks so much for your visit, link & comment! I'm now following your blog, & I hope you'll consider following Saved by Grace also!
      God bless,
      Laurie

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  18. I love how God speaks to me through dreams and I am also grateful for those who have the gift of dream interpretation. Bless you for a great post :)

    http://thejoyfulservant.com

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    1. God bless you too, Ms. Kathleen! I am always thankful for your kind words of encouragement!

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  19. I was really interested to read your post, and how you reached the understanding of your dream.
    However, by the end I was rather saddened by your insistence that only the prayers of those who believe in Jesus will be answered.
    I believe that God loves all his creation, which includes not just those who belong to other religions, and call God by the name he is known in their language ie Muslim's call God Allah, Jews call God Yahwey, but also his Prodigal Sons, whoever and wherever they may be.
    Since I know that God loves us All, I know he would not discriminate among us, and only love those who can speak English and can therefore call Him God, instead of Allah etc.
    And though I believe that Jesus was one of His great teachers and filled with Spirit, it is God to whom I pray and converse. And my prayers are answered, as are the prayers of many who are not Christians. Not only does God not discriminate between those who love him, whatever their creed, or colour or language, but he is also there for those who don't know him and love him, the way any Father would be for his beloved child - as Jesus so eloquently described in the parable of the Prodigal Son.
    The love of God is in us all, and around us all and in everything that He has made. And what bliss it is!!!!

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    1. Dear Valerie,
      Thank you so much for your visit and comment. You have raised so many thought-provoking questions that I was inspired to write a new post answering them. It should post this evening or by tomorrow, and I sincerely hope you'll be back to read it!

      Briefly, God loves His creation but indwells with His Holy Spirit only those who place their faith in the death, burial and resurrection of His Son Jesus as the only way to Heaven. He offers the freely given gift of salvation to "whosoever" believes in His Son, but not all accept His gift of grace. Jesus said that He is the only way to Heaven, and that false prophets lead souls to death and damnation. Even those who appear to follow Christ by their religious observances, but who do not have faith in and a personal relationship with Him, will not enter Heaven.

      The prodigal son represents the rebellious sinner (all of us before we trust Christ) who is the enemy of God until he comes to the end of himself & recognizes his need for the Father. The older son represents the outwardly obedient, but inwardly resentful, sinner who hates the Father even though he goes through the motions of respecting Him and following His commands.

      When the prodigal returns to the Father, He accepts Him with amazing love and grace. But there is no hope for the "good" son who does not recognize his sins or love his Father.

      Thanks again for bringing up these points that merit a much deeper discussion -- please return tonight or tomorrow for my attempts at that.

      God bless,
      Laurie

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  20. Beautiful post! Very inspirational.
    Found you on Friendship Friday. You might enjoy my God Speaks series on Treasuringgrace.blogspot.com
    Diane

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    1. Thanks so much for your kind words, Diane! I'll hop on over to "God Speaks" right now!
      Blessings to you,
      Laurie

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  21. I love how God speaks to our hearts in many ways. I love that your heart is receptive, to seeking the meaning God intended through this dream. God Bless,

    Crystal

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    1. Amen, Crystal -- God does speak to His children in so many ways, particularly through His Word! Thanks for your sweet comment, & God bless you too!
      Laurie

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  22. I love how God speaks to us even through our dreams. Your post reminds me of the many opportunities I have during the day to pray for those I encounter. I don't need to know their names and the details of the lives to intercede on their behalf. Thanks for the reminder!

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    1. You're very welcome, Rebecca! Praise God that He knows all the details of what people need, and that we can do our part by praying for those around us. Thanks so much for your visit & comment, & God bless!
      Laurie

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  23. i am very moved by this story, laurie. our God is so awesome. thank you for seeking him so fully, on others' behalf...

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    1. Dear Emily,
      I am blessed by your sweet comment! We do indeed serve an awesome God!
      Love to you,
      Laurie

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  24. Wow that was amazing Laurie!! Stories like that give me chills :)

    Thanks for sharing with my NO RULES Weekend Blog Party!
    Paula
    lifeasweknowitbypaula.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks so much, Paula! I appreciate your sweet comment, & thanks for hosting!
      God bless,
      Laurie

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  25. This is a touching story, I'm glad you prayed for the women. In regards to another part of your story, I pray for people in big groups to be saved too.

    Happy Sunday to you. :)

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    1. Thanks, mail4rosey! May God bless you for being a prayer warrior!
      Love in Him,
      Laurie

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  26. Thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things hop. I'm sorry it's taken me so long to stop by and say thank you. xo

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    1. You're very welcome, Katherine, & thanks for your visit & comment!
      God bless,
      Laurie

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  27. Laurie...I have very vivid dreams often. Sometimes they make sense in some way and other times they're just mind boggling. But since this has always been my life, I don't put too much thought into them. Your post was thought provoking though. Thank you for sharing at WJIM. Have a blessed week.

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    1. Thanks, Naomi, for your comment! Dreams are often cryptic, to be sure! Thanks also for hosting, and blessings & love to you!
      Laurie

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