Thai Airways flight TG325 was roaring down the runway in Bangkok, Thailand. It was after 1 am and I was sleepily waiting for takeoff of our flight from Thailand to Bangalore, India. I remember thinking, “We’re taking longer than usual to take-off. It seems like we should have rotated nose up by now. Maybe the engines on this Airbus A300 are not as powerful as other planes and the take-off run is longer.”
About that time, the pilot slammed on the brakes. Hard. The seat belt tugged. Kay and I were both wide awake now.
It takes a while to get 19 tons traveling at 170 miles per hour slowed down. Three hundred people on flight TG325 were hoping there was enough runway left.
There was. The Thai pilot was a professional. He did all the right things and we were always safe.
As we turned around to taxi back towards the terminal, Kay commented that she had prayed twice during the evening for our flight to India. She had felt an unusual prompting to pray. The Lord was preparing the pilot, the flight crew, and us for an aborted take-off experience. Kay’s prayers were a part of that preparation.
That is why your prayers are important. Air travel is pretty routine. Except when it isn’t! We do it all the time. It’s amazing how regularly flights take off and land safely. Baggage arrives as expected most of the time.
God allows things to happen “normally” most of the time. Most things are so “normal” that we forget to “pray without ceasing.” But sometimes, he has special opportunities to trust him built into our daily schedule. I don’t know whether it’s special faith-building opportunities, or whether the always-present-but-rarely-seen spiritual warfare breaks out in a skirmish in our part of reality.
But prayer is a very important part of both faith-building and war-fighting. I wrote a few months ago about an amazing thought from John Piper (click here to view Piper video clip):
God, the sovereign ruler of the universe, has ordained that prayers cause things to happen that would not happen if we do not pray. When James 4:2 says ‘you do not have because you do not ask’, it doesn’t mean ‘you would have anyway even if you did not ask because I’ve got a plan’.
This was a difficult trip from the perspective of airlines and travel. Long flights. Missed connections. Delays. Missing bags.
But in the end, we had one of the most profitable meetings of our global technology leadership that we’ve had. Ever. And we trained 30 leaders in India how to use our measurement system to capture statistics and stories of the amazing things God is doing in India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Nepal. They will soon train their hundreds of staff. We will soon be even better able to publish abroad the amazing things God is doing throughout that entire region of the world.
And prayer is a major a part. Prayers were part of getting us to Thailand and to India. Prayers were part of the effectiveness of the training. And prayers will help Sam and Robin and Bibisho and others as they lead in helping everyone know someone who truly follows Jesus.
“Prayers cause things to happen that would not happen if we do not pray.”