Let me be the first to admit that sometimes, my prayers don't get answered. It happens to everyone. We're all on a journey, growing in the knowledge of who God is and how He works. No one - not even the most "spiritual" believer you know - has his prayers answered all the time!
But in 30+ years of growing in the Lord, I've discovered that there are some prayers that are powerful. More powerful than others. One such prayer is asking God for what we call "Divine Appointments."
Prayer in the Produce Aisle
I prayed this prayer for "divine appointments" a few weeks ago. I was on my way to a conference, and needed to make a quick trip to the store to pick up some food for my family. On the way, in the car, I prayed: "Lord, I thank you for your divine appointments today. Put me on YOUR schedule. Rearrange my agenda if need be, so that I do what YOU are doing and bring you glory today. Amen."
That's it. That was my prayer. I arrived at the store, and had no sooner walked into the produce aisle than I heard someone call my name. "Deborah! Deborah! I'm so glad to see you!"
I turned around and saw my neighbor from across the street standing there, waving me over. She is what you might call an extreme introvert, spending most of her time inside her house. Despite our proximity, I had not seen this quiet grandmother for several months.
Surprisingly, she was delighted to see me. I know this because for the next 45 minutes - in the apple section - she poured out a story of family trauma so heart-wrenching it brought both of us to tears. She was at wit's end, and did not know how to repair the breaches her family divisions had caused. There seemed to be no solution.
"Have you prayed?" I asked.
"No... I used to pray a lot, a long time ago, when I was a single mom. I really needed God then," she answered.
"So you already know how to talk to Him," I said.
"Yes, I just don't do it that often."
My neighbor is a non-practicing Catholic who, like many people, reaches out for God more when she's in need. Because I had been transparent with her over the years concerning my faith, she reached eagerly for me, hoping I could help. Unfortunately, I was no more able to solve her family difficulties than she was - but I knew the One who could!
"Perhaps it might be a good idea to bring this issue before God in prayer," I suggested. "There seems to be no human way to intervene, but God is not limited. He may have a solution we have not thought of."
I was aware that time was running out; I had a conference to attend and I had not finished my shopping. I knew that my neighbor was hurting and needed help, and I promised to pray for her.
"In fact," I said hesitantly, "If you'd like, we can pray together right now."
I fully expected a "no" answer. After all, we were standing in the middle of the apple harvest at Shaw's! To my surprise, she readily agreed.
As I prayed for her, tears began streaming down her face. She let me continue, apparently oblivious to the shoppers around us, who probably wondered what could be so terribly wrong with the produce!
By the time I left the supermarket, I was praising God. My troubled, reclusive neighbor had just had a deep and powerful encounter with God. Truly that was a "divine appointment!"
Power in Your Prayers
I could tell you many stories connected to this one powerful prayer. I pray for divine appointments regularly and have had opportunities to talk with people I never expected to run into during the course of my days. Coincidences? I don't think so. I have bumped into friends, encouraged believers, and even led a stranger to the Lord. One day, because my youngest son begged me for a haircut, I witnessed to an entire group of stylists in a salon!
Praying for "divine appointments" is all about giving up your agenda and getting onto God's schedule. It's a powerful prayer because when we lose our life - our way of doing things - we gain His. We align ourselves with God's purposes. Listen to the words of Jesus: "I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent me." (John 6:38, NKJV). Sometimes we wonder what the will of God is for us, and it's really very simple. John 6:29 spells it out for us: "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent."
When we believe in a God who is "working all things together for the good of those who love Him" (Romans 8:28); in a God who is "sustaining all things by the word of His power" (Hebrews 1:3); and who "directs our footsteps" (Proverbs 16:9), we will have no trouble believing that we can do His work on His timetable. We can confidently pray for "divine appointments" and then watch Him put together a schedule so timely, so fulfilling, so powerful and so fun that we cannot help but worship Him even more!
© Deborah Perkins / www.HisInscriptions.com
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A severe hearing loss from childhood caused Deborah Perkins to develop what she now calls her secret weapon: tuning in to God's voice. A Wellesley College graduate and an award-winning writer, Deborah is now a wife and mother of 3 boys. Deborah has devoted over 25 years to professional and lay Christian ministry in New England and beyond. Her passion is inspiring people to cultivate greater intimacy with God.