“Timely” Prayer

Knowing as we do the power of prayer, it is encouraging in the utmost to have so many people willing to be a part of our Prayer Team. In our time in Cameroon and Nigeria we have seen many instances of answered prayer, and many examples of what sustained prayer can do over time.

Speaking of time – when I returned for my first visit in 2010 I was very conscious of the short time I had there (three weeks) and asked my church, Elim Baptist, to pray for the timing of everything. I had discovered that my Nigerian friends were willing to plan for some things, but because of the vagaries of life there they would often wait to see what transpired before making firm commitments (often a wise course to take).

So the church prayed, and on that trip so many (literally) last second things occurred that I knew God was working in answer to their prayers. I have never had such a jam-packed, well-organized, “coincidence”-filled, miraculous three weeks in my life. Some broad strategies were laid out, but nothing definite was set in place until I was actually on the ground – yet I could not have made more efficient minute-by-minute arrangements for my time.

I would give details of it all, but it would be impossible, since that trip is for me a blur of activity; of running into people unexpectedly, of happening upon a place at just the right moment, of making last-minute travel connections. This happened every day with unyielding regularity. The only thing I remember not having much time for was sleep – after a few days I think I was sleep-deprived for the rest of the trip. I remember telling my church, though, that I would rest when I got back; while I was there I really did want to burn the candle at both ends. (In fact, I did make a journal of that trip, but it is safely packed up with all our other belongings.)

Some folks, I know, would say that it was because I was in God’s perfect will/plan that it all turned out so well. That thought is sometimes inviting, but I don’t find it in that form in scripture. Worse yet, it tends to negate the need for prayer, something I would hate to do. I believe, as my old youth pastor used to say, “Things happen when you pray that would not have happened had you not prayed.” That trip I asked for prayer that the timing would be well-worked out, and God answered in far more creative ways than I could have imagined.

A very different blog was planned for this spot today, but I got sidetracked with this story. Lord willing, more on “Prayer Passages” shortly. Meanwhile, thanks for your prayers.

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