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With the help of GPS, I found the building.

On my third time driving around the block I found an open space and parked the car. Walking down a long corridor I found the office. I entered and took a number. Soon I was redirected because even though I had my passport, I did not have a photo copy of it. So I retraced my steps, found the elevator and waited in yet another line.

When I made it to the window I found they could not accept my credit card. I finally found enough one dollar bills and loose change in my pockets to purchase the copies I needed. I went back down to the elevator, walked back down the long corridor, found the door to the room I had been in before, took another number and took my place in the fourth line of the morning.

The numbers were being announced over a loudspeaker, but the people speaking had Chinese accents and the loudspeaker had a lot of crackling static making it difficult to know which number was being called.

I hoped I could hear my number when it was called. Twice I had stood up and then sat back down realizing it was not my number. I took a seat when one opened up near the front. The room was crowded with many people from many places. I am reminded that I am just a tourist, but the stakes are much higher for many of these folks.

I decide the best use of my time is to do a people prayer watch. I choose a family to my left and ask God’s blessing on them. Sometimes when I do this I imagine what their back story might be. I feel a special compassion for those with small children because I still remember how tired I used to get when trying to conduct business with one sleeping child on my back and another cranky one holding my hand.

I also have a special place in my heart for those in the room who speak neither English nor Chinese. I can see the tension and weariness in the eyes of some elderly folks speaking a language I cannot identify.

Surrounded by this mass of people in a room too small with too few chairs, I know this is an unexpected opportunity for me to become a “stealth intercessor.”

Three hours later I am outside walking toward my car. But I am not the same person I was earlier. Now, I am eternally connected to the people I felt led to pray for. Praying for them was an anonymous gift to them and also a gift to me because I know from experience I cannot pray for them without being changed myself.

That’s just the way it works.

Joy Sylvester Johnson

– Joy Sylvester Johnson




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