What a week for Northern Ireland.
What a week for Enniskillen and County Fermanagh.
I wonder when Hugh Maguire and his labourers built Enniskillen Castle (see photo) in the 15th century, did they ever imagine eight of the world’s most influential national leaders would come to Enniskillen and be just down the road?
2013 shall go down in history as the year when Northern Ireland successfully managed to peacefully host one of the largest and most important international summits of current times, with some of the earths most significant leaders present. Of course I am referring to the G8 political summit.
Last Monday, 17th June, whilst the summit had begun, I had occasion to be present in the Coleraine house of prayer, 2 hours north of Enniskillen, where 12 hours of prayer and praise were taking place consecutively on Monday and Tuesday in direct conjunction with the G8 world summit. This was primarily to declare that whilst these ‘kings’ of our time were in our land, that Jesus, is the KING OF KINGS, and exhalt him and cry out to him for peace and good to come out of the political talks at Lough Erne.
Whilst there, and during that prayer time in Coleraine, I sensed a still small voice (of what I sensed to be the Holy Spirit ), prompting me to actually GO to Enniskillen and County Fermanagh (around 100 miles away, which in our wee country is considered to be quite a drive! 🙂 and pray in the area personally, and walk around in the town.
After initially dismissing the thought, I soon began to reason with myself and realise that actually, there was nothing to stop me. So, following the inner voice, I begin the 200 mile round trip, filling the tank of my small Ford Fiesta with petrol, and praying for the God I know and love to guide me, and bless this step of faith.
As a result, almost two hours later, I found myself in the sunny outskirts of Enniskillen, in a queue to talk to the nice but well armoured, heavily uniformed (and therefore quite intimidating) police man deciding who was and was not being allowed into the vicinity of Enniskillen that evening (around 7pm).
Wondering what I was going to tell him, I thought about turning around and just ending my wee adventure there and then and just driving home, but as I was still considering, and deciding to press ahead, to my surprise, the policeman waved me onwards – not stopping to ask me what my business was in Enniskillen that evening. (Even though every single car before and after me was stopped and questioned in seeming detail!)
I took it as a wee sign I was meant to be there!
So onwards I continued on my journey into Enniskillen, passing the bustling media village and packed surroundings of a hotel used for lots of the worlds media on my left, and continuing on until I saw the famous golden arches of a certain international fast food chain located on my right. I stopped in its car park, ordered a cup of tea, and prayed, ‘What now Lord?!’
Soon, I felt led to leave and move on, and ended up deciding to avoid the busy police patrolled town centre area nearby, and parked in a retail car park on a hill nearby, to prayer walk into and around the town.
Having heard there was a church in town opened for prayer during the days of the G8 summit, I decided to go for a walk and see if I found it, and if so, go in and pray there for a while, but if not, come on back to my car and leave and return home again.
It was a sunny beautiful June evening, and all I could think was that, “Barack Obama, David Cameron, Angela Merkel and co, are all getting a glorious evening to enjoy the beauty of Lough Erne, and my gorgeous wee country, for their brief time here,” When the sun shines in our beautiful little country, there is no place I would rather be in the world.
As my walk continued, I very soon was faithfully led by the inner voice, still, to discover what I then realised was the Methodist church building in town, which turned out to be hosting 24/7 prayer for several days until the end of the G8 summit. So I ended up venturing in, having passed countless police officers and armoured police vans along the way (including many in little boats in the river), and sat down in the enticing silence within this impressive building.
Much work had clearly been put into the whole host of ‘prayer stations’ created around the church hall, as well as aids in the main church sanctuary, and I was only sad that more people were not there to enjoy and enter into the encouragement to draw near to our maker and pray for the world leaders attending this summit just down the road, in “our wee country,” (as we like to say here in Northern Ireland).
As I was coming out of the building, having prayed for a man downstairs whilst getting a farewell cup of tea (in true local hospitable style), I got into conversation with another kind gentleman who appeared to be working there, or at least in some sort of supervision of the building whilst people came and went.
Then to my surprise, a couple who came behind me just after, and joined in conversation with this same gentleman and I, began to chat with me also, and discovered I had travelled from further afield.
I was totally blessed with the lady of the couple quickly invited me for a cup of tea back at their apartment before I would begin my lengthy drive home (by this time, around 9.40pm), and so, again following the inner still small voice and gut sense within me, I soon found myself walking through the main street of this quaint town, chatting and beginning to get to know this kind couple who it seemed to me had been put in my pathway that evening.
As a result of accepting their kind invitation to go back to their house for a cup of tea (and touched by the kindness of strangers), I ended up getting more than I had considered possible that evening, in the eerily deserted streets of historic Enniskillen.
Very soon we began sharing more openly, and the couple began to pour out their hearts quite openly to me, in their lovely apartment. I had a clear sense from the Holy Spirit that God had guided me to cross paths specifically with this couple that evening, and wanted me to bless them by praying for, and with, them before I would leave.
As a result of my random little trip to Enniskillen, therefore, I ended up praying and prophesying over this warm Christian couple who are at a significant time in their lives, and had the privilege of being a vessel for Father God to use to bless and encourage them, and in the process, I myself was incredibly encouraged and blessed even more, in that oxymoronic Christ-like principal, that in the giving we receive even more.
What a night. I drove home almost speechless with God’s goodness and mercy, to lead me like that through a subtle still small voice and teaching me afresh the value of listening to this, not quenching it, and being open and available to co-labour with him. If not, I would never have had this incredible wee adventure and encounter with this wonderful couple, and they would not have received the encouragement clearly needed or confirming word guiding them on into their future. To God be the glory!
Therefore the lesson I have strongly learned again from all this is simple. Not easy, but simple, follow the still small voice.
You never quite know where it’s going to lead you!