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Photo by Taylor Johnson

By Melanie Mar Chow

After my second cup of coffee on a busy morning, almost 10 years ago to the day that I write this blog, I remember sensing that I was to call a friend who worked at another missions agency.  As I wondered why should I, out of the blue call, him, I froze.  Why?  Could it be just to check  in as he connects with my students? Maybe it was simply to let him know I was praying for him. I thought, I have this super strong sense that I am to call. But often instead of confirming whether it was God’s prompting, I wait. But finally after almost hearing the Holy Spirit shout, I called, hoping to leave a message and be done with it.  But he picked up after one ring and his voice didn’t say hi, but “Hey, I want to ask your opinion.”  Turns out that not only was it important for me to reconnect, I was blessed that like many other times, this sense to call this person out of the blue was helpful as he was looking for confirmation from God and prayer.

Often when God asks me to do something, I doubt that I heard correctly. I forget that God is at work and also grants us the privilege to experience and know His work.   This sense to reach out to God’s people is a God-given ability that needs not to be neglected.   I am grateful for this friendship now as God continues to remind me to pause and ask how to pray for this friend and over the years, we’ve kept in touch despite the fact that he and his wife are missionaries halfway across the world.

I am no stranger to having the Holy Spirit prompt me.  God has asked me to do this a number of times with other friends.  It is almost normal, that when I told my hubby about this call, he said “glad you were faithful.”  Many a time I get this strong sense that God wants me to do something, and instead of confidently and joyfully thanking God for the opportunity, I instead respond like Han Solo saying “I have a bad feeling about this.”

(As a side note, as many await the release of Episode 8, the Last Jedi: This phrase has been uttered not only by Han Solo, but also twice by Obi-Wan Kenobi, and at least once by each Star Wars lead as a gag and the second most-recalled line next to the infamous “May the Force be with you.”)

My feeling is better related to another Disney subsidiary, Marvel, and the infamous Peter Parker’s “spidey sense” that helps him respond to imminent danger. What is “spidey sense?”  It cannot be found in Spiderman: Homecoming, but reverting to Toby Macguire, spider sense in all intent and purpose is precognition or the extraordinary ability to sense.  This is likened to the 80’s popular phenomenon of ESP or extrasensory perception.  ESP refers to a sixth sense, or emotional sense different from the common senses of  hearing, vision, smell, taste and touch.  ESP is a little less common, but relies more on the psychological.  The person must be able to perceive emotions and articulate the feelings or effect it has on a current state or situation.  The sheer fact that I write about having a sixth sense breaks the code of Peter Parker who, for the most part, keeps it secret but is aware of it when it tingles at the base of his head.  Psychic, or clairvoyant, it is still a prompting to react and respond for the sake of others.

I think that most Christians know their “sixth sense” to be originated from the Holy Spirit.  It is sometimes triggered by others, or a bodily sensation, but nonetheless, it combines our need to react and to follow the will of our Heavenly Father: to know and sense what is of God, and what is not.   This sensation can be like the two that were walking down the road to Emmaus, and one of them felt their heart burn (Luke 24:32-33).  The burning was to draw their attention to know that Christ appeared in their midst.

For me, the prompting of the Holy Spirit when my friends need prayer for a specific decision has come with a strong intensity to action.  I have called people while driving that was something en vogue.   I would literally pull to the side of the road and in my younger days, find a quarter and go to a phone booth.  At times, I actually got out of my car and ran to a hotel to use a phone, and paid with credit card to call someone.

But more than Stevie Wonder who just calls to say “I love you,” God has used these types of phone calls for me to listen, sometimes intently, to remind friends that He loves them in their moment of need. Often I don’t say the words but I am just being available for God to make His “love” connection.  I know because others have done that for me. Thankful for these tech times, we are a message away to say I’m praying and instantaneously, I can sense why God asked me to pray.  I guess that is the beauty of staying faithful to God.  It is a lot different for us, his followers, to respond or be prompted to act. Even if you mistook a prompting, it is always good to offer prayer.

So if you think that you have this tingling to respond, if you think that it may only be the quickness of technology and the vibration of the phone in your pocket, think again! It might instead be the Holy Spirit’s prompting for you to act and participate in His purposes. Friends, I urge you: do not miss this awesome privilege to be a conduit of God’s love to His people.

Rev. Melanie Mar Chow serves God through Asian American Christian Fellowship, the campus ministry division of the Japanese Evangelical Missionary Society (JEMS). She has been an ordained American Baptist minister since 2004. A Pacific Northwest native, she currently lives with her husband and daughter in Southern California.

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