Tuesday was a long day, so coming into the final full day of the trip, we were already exhausted. Coupled with less than ideal sleeping conditions in the hotel rooms since they were pretty packed, we had all the ingredients for a lackluster day. However, not only did God have bigger things planned for our last day, he specifically taught me things about prayer and worship.

The moment we’d all been waiting for...reunion with Ryan Post!!! For those of you who don’t know, Ryan was our high school worship pastor at Southeast, and about six months ago he and his family moved to Portland to serve at Westside: A Jesus Church. Our team met him at Pip’s Donuts, and over some pretty eccentric carbs and delicious espresso, we got to talk to him a bit about his new role and how his family was settling in. From there, we all went to a place called Proud Mary’s for brunch with some of the other staff from Westside. On my end of the table were two guys named Keithen and Matt, and they are some of the coolest guys I got to meet on this trip. They had some really interesting perspectives and great senses of humor, but most importantly, they were brothers in Christ. Also, I don’t exaggerate when I say I had what was very possibly the best cup of coffee I’ve ever had...and I’m a barista. After we were done hanging out (which I didn’t want to end!), we all went to get a tour of Westside from Ryan. What an awesome, creative space! Perfectly suited for Ry and his gifts.

Finally we began to set up for the worship night. Every Wednesday, Westside has a youth worship night for middle and high school students, and we got to be the band for this week, which was such a blessing. However, as I said earlier, we were completely spent as a team. Stephen especially was beyond tired. As we began to see, God had ordained this night, regardless of our level of exhaustion. We met with the team at Westside before the service, and we just plopped right down. Keithen was leading the prayer time, and so he asked everyone from the Southeast team to come to the middle. He and about 75 other people from Westside all prayed for us as one voice, and I began to feel the weight of our drowsiness lift. We went to the lobby and hung with the students, grabbed some nachos, and pretended like we weren’t on the edge of falling asleep! Fifteen minutes before the service, our team plus Keithen and Matt prayed over the service. Still feeling some tension, I just prayed a super short prayer for the energy of the Holy Spirit to overpower our exhaustion. I wanted this not only so I could enjoy the worship, but mostly so I could be a conduit for the work of the Holy Spirit, to lead these kids in spirit and in truth. As we began to take the stage, we all just started kind of looking at each other, and we came alive. I looked across at Stephen and there was his classic Stephen smile, right where a yawn was five minutes ago! Needless to say, the Holy Spirit showed up and I have never seen a prayer answered so quickly. Ryan came up and led the last song with us, and it was a surreal moment. I prayed, and not only did God answer, but my eyes were opened to the work of the Spirit through the discipline of prayer. How profound that God would give me the energy I needed and the eyes to see his Spirit working. He truly does “far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us” (Eph 3:20).

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