Something awesome happened last week.
On July 21st, promptly at 4:00 am, 11 Christ Followers piled into a van and set out for an 18 hour drive, a mission trip to serve and support our church plant in Manchester, CT.
Our primary purpose was to help with final preparations and assist with a major outdoor community event called “Movies In The Park” , hosted by LifeSong Manchester in Westside Park. As a team we spread the word in the community by handing out marketing, by connecting with various local groups, individuals, businesses and organizations. We made phone calls to people who had previously expressed an interest in learning more about the church or Christianity in general, to inform them of several upcoming “don’t miss” opportunities. We split off into smaller teams. Some painted a bedroom for an elderly, disabled couple … others replaced and painted damaged railing at the CAST Children’s Theater. Each evening, our team came together to prepare and serve dinner and love on the guests at the MACC shelter.
We started each day with a devotional and time of prayer ….. each night we decompressed, sharing our highs and lows and our God moments. Each day we prayer-walked the field on which the event was scheduled to take place that Friday evening.
By early Wednesday we all had serious concerns about the weather. The forecast showed high percentages of rain on through into the weekend. Rescheduling was simply not an option. For WEEKS posters, signs and fliers had been out in the community promoting Movies In The Park for that particular Friday. It was all over the Patch, the LSM webpage and social media.
We needed a miracle.
Now I’ve read the bible and it’s chock-full of miracles from beginning to end. From creation in Genesis through the Gospels recounting the life, death and resurrection of Christ and on into Revelation there’s abundant proof and promise …. God’s power is amazing, His sovereignty is evident. People whose stories were documented in the Bible prayed …. and God responded.
Which brings me to the point of this blog. If this thing was going to happen, then we needed nothing short of a miracle ….
Pastor Tim challenged us to pray very specific prayers, with great expectation, with the faith of a child, fully confident that God hears us. We prayed for many things …. for God’s favor and favor with man, for the Eastside and Westside communities, for the hurting and searching people He would bring to the event, for opportunities to share the Gospel …. and most specifically for no rain on Friday from 4-10, please.
It has been my custom to approach God with very vague requests, always giving Him an out with the disclaimer “if it is your will ….”. My prayer problem was me …… God knew that in my heart I really didn’t believe He’d do what I asked, that He was even listening, or that my prayers had any weight. How well I identify with the father in Mark chapter 9 … “The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24 NLT). My lips asking, yet my heart unbelieving. In Mark chapter 6, it is documented “And because of their unbelief, he couldn’t do any miracles among them except to place his hands on a few sick people and heal them. And he was amazed at their unbelief. Then Jesus went from village to village, teaching the people. “(Mark 6:5, 6 NLT). Unbelief, lack of faith ….. no wonder my half-hearted prayers have so often gone unheard or unanswered.
Last Thursday I approached the throne of the Father differently, confidently …. I think for the first time ….. fully expecting Him to move, trusting Him to honor our prayers. Asking and believing that He heard MY honest and heartfelt prayers. The forecast had predicted rain …. but by 1pm on Friday the rain had stopped, by 3pm the sun was out, by 4pm the ground was dry and the turnout that evening was Remarkable!
That’s the kind of story I’ve only read about …. but it happened last Friday in Manchester, CT …. God heard the cries of His people, He answered specific prayer, He held back the rain. He blessed and showed favor even when we didn’t deserve it.
If that’s not remarkable enough, last week God taught me how to properly approach Him in prayer. That in itself is a miracle!