Halloween is taboo in many Christian circles. It is a dark night- seen as a celebration of things occult, and an indulgence in alternative personalities, and the role playing of villains and heroes alike.
Originally it was the eve of a day when people would hallow saints, though the Bible calls us to hallow only our Father in heaven. That eve of Saints Day, the Celtics believed ghosts roamed the earth, and they would dress up to essentially blend in, undetected by the spirits. But many people do not function from this understanding, or lack thereof, during present-day Halloween festivities. Any typical year, people wander the streets with their children to satisfy a sweet tooth, and to have fun in disguise!
Well, every year, throngs of families wander the community of Miami Springs with their children, looking to collect as many confections as to barely be able to carry the weight of them... What a setting it is to observe, a gathering of thousands corralled together for the church to reach out to!
Christ Fellowship Miami Springs was a presence within the community this Halloween, as has been custom for four years now. We put on a Trunk or Treat event, where we decorate our cars and pass out candy and invites to strangers who have been thoroughly prayed for, unbeknownst to them. Our purpose is to redeem the night, and redirect people to Jesus Christ, the light in the darkness. This particular year, we chose to display a sign that read, “FREE PRAYER.”
As student director, I drew up the words for the sign and left a group of students to tend to the trunk by handing out the candy and student invites. I worked my way to an information booth we set up, to drop off the prepared sign to someone from our prayer team. As I walked away, I was grabbed by the shoulder by someone from our congregation who was accompanied by a stranger, a woman.
“Pastor, she saw you carrying the sign for FREE PRAYER, and immediately said she wanted prayer. Would you pray for her now?”
There was such emotion that surged through me in that instant, as the realization overcame me that there is a world that is very thirsty for a connection with our divine God. They long to be seen and heard by Him, and they are willing to ask a stranger to walk them up to His throne and plead when they don't necessarily know how.
“Of course I will!” I replied.
I asked the woman for anything in particular she might want prayer for- her reply, “financial stability, a job, and the ability to have our own living space. We currently have a shared space.” I knew she was a mother of two, so within my prayer, I thanked the Lord for His passages that tell us He cares for us and values us more than the birds He feeds, and the flowers He clothes. I continued to intercede specifically that He would provide her particular needs, and passionately prayed for her soul, salvation and her children. I felt a great awareness of the interaction being a divine appointment. I knew that moment had come from a Sovereign calendar, and it produced a passion within me that echoed the love of God for people. We ended the prayer and she had been weeping with just as much passion.
Did her tears reflect pain or hope? I won't be truly sure, but I know for certain that her words reflected gratitude. She plans to visit Christ Fellowship to find community and a God who answers prayer.
I'm grateful to God that we were serving the community that night, and I'm glad she redeemed the offer for FREE PRAYER.
Saul Rapalo is joyfully married to Heather Rapalo. They met at Moody Bible Institute where he graduated with a degree in Biblical Exposition. Saul serves at Christ Fellowship as student pastor since the launch of the Miami Springs campus in 2013. He is passionate about coffee, travel, photography, basketball, and volleyball. A perfect evening for him would be to read a good book with a good cup of coffee after having played basketball for a couple of hours, with his wife by his side, in a foreign country. His sole aim is to do all things for the glory of God. Soli Deo Gloria