Prayers Over the Pacific
The airplane was somewhere over the Pacific. It was dark, we were into the tenth hour of a fifteen-and-a-half hour flight and I was restless. Running through my mind was this notion of 40 Days to Freedom. I was thinking of the prayers that had been lifted heavenward on our behalf and were being lifted even as sped across the Pacific at 500 knots. How would God answer these prayers? Would we see immediate impact or would this be a season of seed planting? What did God have in mind for this time, this journey, this group of praying people?
I slid the questions into an unused corner of my heart and went to sleep for a while. I would grab them later when I could put them to use.
Prayer Along the Road
Fast forward to a bumpy road in the mountains of Madang Province. Though it was early the sun was already hot. The greenery whizzed by on both sides of the truck as we made our way toward Uria. The questions started jiggling loose and flopping around in my consciousness as we bumped through potholes and rough spots in the road. Memories flooded my mind at every turn in the road and through each pass in the mountains. “How will you answer these prayers, Father?” Kablooey. Flat tire. In the middle of nowhere. Probably wasn’t my idea of answered prayer. A group of road workers happened by a few minutes later, jacked the truck up and changed the tire. We started rolling again. Flop. Swish. Flop. Swish. The rhythmic thumping and hissing of another flat tire–no spare this time. We sat on the edge of the road. I whipped out a mobile phone and texted my wife in the U.S. “Have people pray. We are stranded.” The prayers went out. Pray-ers prayed. Along came a truck filled with people who recognized me–they were wontoks (one-talks); Somau Garia friends. They loaded up our driver, our blown out tire, and were off to town. A few hours later we were back on the road to the village. Those flat-tire prayers were impactful. I believe that the prayers offered gave extra oomph to what was discussed, what was decided, even in setting up conditions so that Jesus’ name will be honored when we return and get moving with the translation again. I also believe that a younger generation of Somau Garia speakers will be engaged and involved in the process of translation and literacy because of answer to those prayers and perhaps even due to the delay in starting the meeting caused by the tires blowing out.
Prayer With Impact
A week later I found myself in Tiap Village, where Aruamu is spoken, talking with the Lord. “Father, how will you answer prayers in this place?” No flat tires here. Events were less mundane. As I was preaching one evening, some young men were sitting together somewhere up the village, away from where we were gathered. They were absolutely astounded at what they had heard. “How is this guy reading our minds?” they were saying to each other. As we prayed and I preached the Holy Spirit was doing his work of conviction. He did this consistently. In four nights of preaching, nine were baptized and over 250 were prayed for as they responded to the conviction and leading of the Holy Spirit. A common theme emerged in the responses: a call to unity of the believers; to stand together and go forth with the Good News.
The Father honored your commitment to pray (and some of you fast) for forty days. He responded to your cries by moving in the deep places of hearts and cultures to make an ongoing impact. Thank you for your partnership in these days of wonder.