Today was a great day, and a very busy day at work. There are at least three particular things I’m thanking God for today.
One is simply the reminder that God answers prayer. My wife had to travel to Dallas this week for her job, and had been told she’d have to be there a second week. The last two weeks we’ve been praying that if she has to go, she’d only have to travel for one week, and that we’d be together as much as possible. Today, God answered that prayer in that not only does she not have to travel next week, but also gets to come home a day early this week. Though it may seem like a somewhat small thing, for me it was a huge faith builder as we continue to pray that God would provide the finances to cover the rest of our student loans by the end of this year so that we would go into 2011 student loan debt free and be sent to an unreached land by next fall. It was also a huge faith builder in that the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to be recognize, be thankful, and praise God for providing and answering prayer today in an unexpected way that was better than what we had prayed and hoped for.
I’ve been told that God usually (not always) answers prayer in one of three ways:
2. Not yet/a change from what was asked for
The second is that I was reminded today of a principle Bill Bright talks about (especially in his book Witnessing Without Fear). The principle is that any time you are alone with another person, viewing the situation as a prompting from God to initiate a gospel conversation (or at least a spiritual conversation). Today at work, three of us were going to various businesses in the Lancaster area to generate awareness of our university’s program. At one of our stops, only two of us were allowed to go up to meet with the director of a particular organization. The plan was for my two co-workers to meet with him while I ventured to other businesses.
As I walked out of the building, I saw two guys near the entrance, and casually asked if they ever thought about going back to school. One of the guys started talking with me, and started opening up a lot about his life and future plans. As the conversation continued, I was reminded (or prompted by the Holy Spirit) of the principle of seeking to even bring up spiritual things in conversations like this. I simply asked what our faithful Ohio University campus ministry Director always asks, “Do you ever think about spiritual things?” I also asked if he ever thought about the purpose of life, as well as what he thought happens after death. The conversation concluded after just another few minutes, but I was able to briefly talk (or stumble through) about the transformation of my own life and purpose through Christ, and the need for Jesus and salvation.
May God enable me to more frequently ask people about spiritual thoughts and share the gospel.
The third thing is simply being thankful that the Holy Spirit enabled me today to recognize how God was working, particularly in His answers to prayer, but also in conversation today. A month ago I started praying that God would help me to recognize how He is working in and around my life, as well as in the lives of others, and across the world. May God grant me (and you) a greater awareness and recognition and thankfulness for the many ways He is at work around us and we don’t realize it.