“Pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17)
Recently my family and I attended a family type of event put on by a Christian organization that works with young people. The name of that group is called “AWANA” (Approved Workmen Are Not Ashamed – from 2 Timothy 2:15) and the event was the annual “AWANA Olympics”. What a great family outing it turned out to be. While there, we met up with a number of people, established new relationships, and firmed up on some existing ones. You could just “feel” the Spirit of God moving in that place — with a solid Biblical emphasis, people who loved the Lord, fun for the children, meeting friends new and old, great sporting events, and lunch on top of it all.
Now many things happened that day that clearly indicated just how involved the Lord is in the welfare of his people, and how the Lord “causes all things to work together for the good of those that love him” (Romans 8:28) — especially when we intentionally gather together as a church family in events like this. Let me stress, too, that this was not a “denominational” event, but rather a trans-denominational one. People from many different churches and church backgrounds were there.
On this particular day, the Spirit of God was indeed “moving”. I know not what to comment on the most, for so many significant things happened. Yet I will start by saying that the Lord first led me to take my daughter Elizabeth, who was outside of the age-bracket for this particular AWANA Olympics, to get a “special treat” so that she would not feel like she was missing out on anything (for she had been sick the night before and could not attend the AWANA Olympics for her age category). So, we went to the local convenience store and purchased a children’s basketball which she very much appreciated. My younger daughter, Rebekah (1-1/2) came along as well. Meanwhile, my wife and son, Daniel, were at the “Olympics”.
Well, as it would turn out, I was able to distribute several evangelistic tracts to people at the convenience store. On the way back from the convenience store (for we were now planning to join up with my wife and son), I got a “sinking” feeling in my spirit. I would like to explain this sinking feeling a little bit. You see, just prior to the sinking feeling, I had felt very blessed in the way things had gone. However, at a certain point along the road, as we were rolling along quite slowly in our van (at about 10 MPH), all of a sudden I got a “sinking” feeling — something similar, if not very much like, a feeling of sudden discouragement. Do you think the Holy Spirit could “make” or “allow” someone to feel that way for a reason? Well, I do! Suddenly, I remembered that, although I had passed out the tracts, I had failed to follow it up with prayer! Not wanting to sink any further, I IMMEDIATELY began to pray for those three women that we had given the tracts to. Well, do you know what happened? IMMEDIATELY, the sinking feeling went away!
Coincidence? I don’t think so. But rather, as someone has said, “God-incidence”. A lesson to be learned? Yes. And sadly, I must confess, a lesson to be re-learned time and time again. It is not about us, as though we had the power to change anyone by our words or even by our tracts. But rather, it is by the power of the Holy Spirit who works within us. Without prayer, we are really leaving out the most important thing of all! So, I say, echoing the words of the apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, and saying it indeed to myself, let’s pray at all times! Let’s pray in season, and let’s pray out of season. And may our prayers indeed be “out of sight” in his eyes, so that work really does get accomplished for the sake of the kingdom. And may it not only be three women that get saved as a result of our prayers, but three thousand men and women, a day!
“I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, [and] giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and [for] all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this [is] good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For [there is] one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, [and] lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity. I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.” (1 Timothy 2:1-8)