My prayer calendar request for the summer began with this sentence: “Pray that I would walk by the Spirit this summer.” To be honest, when I wrote that prayer, I had no idea what I was asking for. To be honest, I didn’t really know what it meant to walk by the Spirit. I didn’t know what it felt like or how to do it. But even while I was writing that prayer request, the Lord knew what I needed for the summer, and in His sovereignty and goodness, knowing what He had already planned to teach me and to work in me and through me, He led me to write that. And He has certainly been working.
During Kids Camp B, a fellow counselor made me a bracelet strung with little blue beads and words that the Lord had given her for me: living water. I passed her at dinner one night and she dropped it into my hand. As I looked at it, immediately I thought of the verse in John that says: “’ Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, “Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water”’” (John 7:38). This verse had been on my mind because it is mentioned in the Kids Camp Bible study in the context of the Holy Spirit coming to live inside of our hearts. I was touched by this gift. I knew that it was a beautiful thing because my friend had given it to me and it was a powerful thing because the Lord had given it to her. And I knew that if it was from the Lord, He was about to reveal something to me.
On the last night of this same camp, the speaker gave an invitation at the end of Pow Wow, and the counselors gathered behind Lakeview to pray. This same counselor approached me and asked me how I was doing. And I began to cry. I remember telling her that I didn’t feel like I was allowing the Spirit to work in me very well. I felt like I was getting in His way. I felt like He couldn’t work through me. Needless to say, I was believing lots of lies. And while I don’t remember much of what she said to me or what she prayed over me, I do remember one phrase that she spoke: living water. And I remember feeling loved and encouraged and at peace.
As the campers began to respond to the invitation and trickle out the back doors, I saw one of my girls. She walked up to me and I grabbed her hand. As I did so, I looked down and saw on the wrist of my hand that was holding hers the bracelet this counselor had given me and those same words: living water. And immediately that verse in John came to my mind again: “’ Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, “Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”’”
This camper and I walked away from everyone, sat down beside a tree, and began to talk. The first thing that she said was: “Does Jesus ever leave you after you have been saved?” I was moved by this question from this eight-year-old girl, and I felt the Spirit leading me as I spoke. It was a gift to be the one responding to her at that moment and speaking truth to her, the truth that the Spirit of God was reminding me of at that very moment: “No, He never, ever leaves us. In fact, He comes to live inside of us if we ask Him.” I walked through the gospel with her, and then I asked her if she had ever prayed to accept Jesus into her heart. She told me that she had, the night before, at LFR after Dark. She told me she had prayed at the bonfire while Papa Rich was talking. I listened as she shared and I prayed over her that she would always remember the truth that the Holy Spirit lives within her and never, ever leaves her.
Shortly after this first girl walked out to talk with me, I saw, out of the corner of my eye, another of the girls in my cabin walk outside. And while I was talking to the first girl, the same counselor who had given me the bracelet approached her and sat down with her and began to talk with her. As I finished talking and praying with the first girl, I walked over to where my friend and the second girl were sitting. I stood at a distance and listened to their conversation. I had missed some of it, but shortly after I arrived, the counselor asked this camper if she would like to accept Jesus into her heart. She nodded and began to pray silently. When she had finished, she squeezed the counselor’s hand, and I listened to my friend pray sweetly over this girl and affirming what had just happened, that God had saved her and now lived inside of her.
I saw the Holy Spirit work in beautiful ways that night. Regarding the salvation of those two sweet girls, I never had to say a word. The first girl had heard the gospel the night before at the bonfire and had been convicted of its truth by the Spirit and saved because of Jesus; all I did was simply encourage her. The second girl heard the gospel from a fellow counselor and was convicted of its truth by the Spirit and saved because of Jesus; all I did was sit to the side and watch and pray alongside her. All I had to do was watch the Spirit do His work of salvation and redemption and allow Him to use me as a vessel to speak truth and encouragement into these girls’ lives. It was a beautiful gift.