Written by Mike Verkaik:
This past Sunday we followed a new devotional pattern started by my son, Chad. On the weekends we read from Tim’s new book, Stepping into the Lord’s Prayer. As Chad was leading us through chapter 4, I began to hear the theme of this blog when he read, “ We are created to be in relationship with heaven, to hear and speak to the Father. Sin hinders this (Psalm 66:18), but confession opens our ears to hear the loving language of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (p. 67)
Two weeks ago I had the privilege of attending a week long Quest in Georgia. There were 22 men in attendance from various parts of the country. As we were getting ready to leave our facilitator asked us, “How will you respond if people asked about your week?” The consensus was, “It was an accepted invitation to have an encounter with Jesus.” That encounter began when each of us arrived with a willing spirit to examine our lives, confess our deep seeded sins, to dwell in His word, and to pray for His will and guidance in our lives.
It was out of that repentance, seeking and praying that I share the following encounter of discerning the voice of God with Brian, a friend who invited me to the Quest.
Working at the motel can be a dark place. I was feeling that darker side Thursday morning as I awoke at the Quest. I can’t explain it, but I definitely felt it around me. As I lay awake, I spent the next hour in prayer, asking the Holy Spirit to reveal it to me. During that hour of prayer I was drawn to think about room 47 at the motel.
As Brian and I began our half-mile walk to the morning session, I shared my prayer time and room 47 with him. He suggested that we both press into the motel ministry during our morning devotional/prayer time, and I agreed.
When we returned, God had spoken to me about the darkness, but Brian returned saying, “there is something about the number 47. I don’t know exactly what it is.” As lunchtime approached Brian asked if I would join him in a time of prayer and fasting over lunch, to press in even more on the motel, Oceans Ministries and the number 47.
We began our time alone seeking what the Holy Spirit might speak to us individually. As I sat down, I have to admit that I did not know how to pray over the number 47. My initial thoughts were, “Lord, you put this more on Brian’s heart. So in the stillness, I asked the Holy Spirit to reveal the significance of this number. Sitting there on that rock, I began to write:
Holy Spirit what do you want at the motel?
Bigger presence, pursue a larger dream. The number 47 – do we rent the room? Make it a prayer room? Study room? Remove all the curtains, let the light it. Have praise and worship? Establish a place of peace, respite?
When we joined together, I asked Brian what he heard about 47? To my shock he said, “Mike, I heard nothing other than it was really about you, not me, so what did you hear?” I responded, “Rent the room, establish a place of peace, get rid of the bed, (Dawn is not ready to sleep there), and have a bigger presence.
Needless to say Brian and I were excited, and both agreed I should pursue the idea of renting the room when we returned home. The following Monday I went to the hotel to tutor some students and afterwards met with the owner of the motel. As we ended our conversation I asked, “ Are there any rooms available to rent?” He responded that there was none, so I asked, “What about Room 47?” “47, he responded, “that room is vacant, but it doesn’t have a bed in it.” I just smiled and said, “Perfect, because we don’t want a bed, we want a place to meet people.”
After some prayer and price negotiation, we decided to offer a rent price for the room for 12 months. The owner accepted, and December 1 Oceans will begin a new facet of ministry.
We are not sure what God has in store for Room 47, or having our extended presence at the motel, but will continue to prayerfully wait in expectation of what He will do with our radical obedience. We will also never forget the journey that lead us to renting the room and what is needed to continually stay connected and discerning the voice of our Father.
I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you. Psalm 32:8