When God interrupts our plans…’pray without ceasing’ (1)

A few of us had arranged to meet up in a few weeks. One of our friends told us that she had  been asked to attend second meeting at the same time and that she thought it was important for her to go to that meeting. She asked if we minded. I will give no details here about the second meeting because it is confidential, but I will say that we know that the outcome of that meeting could make a significant difference in the lives of many people.We have been praying about it for months and we had more or less given up. When I say ‘given up’, I mean that we had given up hoping that things would work out in the way that many people had wished.

Did we mind our friend cancelling our original meeting? Of course we didn’t! It seemed to us that God had other plans, and we were ready to stand back and see God at work. St .Paul said ‘pray without ceasing’, and we continue to pray – but in a different  way now. For the past months we have prayed prayers of petition.(2). We laid our requests before God.We also prayed for guidance, patience and wisdom. God’s thoughts are not our thoughts.(3) We knew that we could be disappointed with the outcome, and we prayed that we would be able to live patiently and graciously with our disappointments. Now we are praying for those with decision-making power, that they will be given guidance and wisdom and that they will discern God’s will, and yield to it.

We are aware of the importance of testing the spirits.(4) Many pray, and there are sometimes different ‘answers’ to prayers, and sometimes we need to make decisions which are unpopular with some people. I think of those prayerful disciples who pleaded with St. Paul not to continue on his journey to Jerusalem, but Paul, guided by the Holy spirit, went anyway.(5) Sometimes it seems that the resistance is coming not only from fellow Christians, but also from Satan. (6) We need to pray without ceasing, to keep testing the spirits.

We none of us know what the outcome of our friend’s second meeting will be, but I am aware of considerable hope rising in me. Maybe I am overly hopeful. Time will tell. Or it’s probably true to  say that God will tell. I believe that part of God’s will in this situation will soon be revealed – and it could make a significant difference to many people.

1. I Thessalonians 5:18-22: ‘Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks, for this is the will of Christ for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things. Hold what is good. Abstain from every form of evil.’

2. ‘In every situation make your petitions be made known to God..’ Philippians 4:6

3. ‘For your thoughts are not my thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the Lord’. Isaiah 55:8

4. ‘…do not believe every spirit, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.’ 1 John 4:1

5. Acts 21

6. ‘We wanted to come to you…but Satan hindered us.’ 1 Thessalonians 2:18

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