When All Else Fails
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.
You know how it is. Someone presents a problem. We try to figure out a solution based on logic, resources, and skills. Nothing works. With a sigh, we report, “I’m sorry. There’s really nothing I can do but pray.”
That statement is humanity speaking. Yes, we are made in God’s image with intellect and abilities. Yes, He expects us to be proactive. But He never wants us to do anything alone. And the way we seek His help is through prayer. South East Asia Prayer Center believes this is so integral to life that it is part of the name by which we are known and the process by which everything happens.
But what about when SEAPC has very real needs? Is prayer still the go-to, or does humanity take over? The answer, of course, is a bit of both. The staff has been challenged of late as preparations reach the conclusion for the yearly Friends Around the Table meeting. This year it is in Jerusalem, from October 16th through the 18th.
Friends brings together SEAPC partners from all over the world, for a time of praise, worship, encouragement, prayer, and fellowship. Great idea, stellar event; it’s a big deal. Like any undertaking of this proportion, there are many moving parts, details, and last-minute emergencies to address.
Hotels in Jerusalem are notoriously expensive. These dates cover the time frame for the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, so rates are even higher. The initial struggle began with no available rooms. It quickly morphed into no affordable rooms. Hundreds of dollars a night did not fit into the budget. Humanity did the research. And when a hotel didn’t materialize, God heard the prayers of the team. Not only is the hotel a reasonable cost, but it is also within the city limits.
After the initial booking, the hotel did not return any emails, calls, or texts. There was silence. What did this mean? Should we be searching for other options? Look into hotels in Tel Aviv with daily drives to Jerusalem? SEAPC staff committed to fasting and prayer. After which, the hotel sent a contract.
Having a plan is great. Funding that plan is a bit harder. A forced lull occurred between booking/paying the hotel and in finding/making flight arrangements. Both were high-ticket items to provide for the 63 attendees. The money came in dribbles. Frowns dominated foreheads. The phrase, “God will provide” was heard often in ever-more desperate tones of voice. Traditional prayer time in the office (Tuesday at Two), as well as leadership prayer, focused on the need. After which, friends contributed exactly the funds needed. Smiles of gratitude replaced the frowns.
It went on like this. Money needed. None in sight. Fasting. Prayer. Provision. God’s faithfulness blossomed as only His faithfulness does: right when it’s needed, when we are faithful to Him when the need furthers the Kingdom. The remaining funds were covered in prayer on Thursday, October 3rd. They came in on Monday, October 7th.
Friends Around the Table is happening. Those who had doubts have them no longer. Because God provided. And because His people humbled themselves in prayer. It begs the question of why we ever do a single thing without first praying. The answer, of course, is that pesky human factor and sin.
Next week friends will gather together in Jerusalem—some who have known one another and served together for years, some who are new to the family. Prayer will underpin everything that happens. Prayer for nation-changing revival in Israel and around the world. Prayer for SEAPC’s vision in 2020. Prayer for our partners in every corner of the globe. At the end of the event, workers will be refreshed, ready to harvest an even more abundant crop for Jesus in the coming year as His will is done and His perfect plan unfolds.
What about the small stuff of everyday life? God is faithful there, as well. He wants to be our strength, our God, and our portion forever. Our role is to lay down our burdens at the foot of the cross. And not to pick them up again. We can certainly use our human gifts to effect change. But without doing so prayerfully, success will always be limited and have the potential to create pride.
Meet Jesus daily in prayer. Spend time with him. It doesn’t have to be formal, formulaic, or forced. He’s our Friend, Counselor, Guide, Savior, and Creator. He knows us better than we know ourselves—and loves us more. Get to know the joy and peace of having a conversation with Him.
Life will never be the same!