Wednesday, December 30, 2015

“Carefully read and follow directions.”

However, self-made men follow their own directives. “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” Reading the manual is sound advice that real men seldom heed because “directions are for wimps!” Self-made men tend to worship in vain at the altar of their creator.

For the rest of us mere co-dependent mortals, directions are indispensable ingredients for success. Nowadays following directions has become so much easier. Thanks to my GPS “app,” I can readily arrive at my destination via the quickest route, on time every time. How did I ever make it with those clumsy hard-to-fold-back-to-their-original-form printed maps?

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With a touch of my fingertip, a woman’s voice points the way. She guides me turn by turn through traffic delays, around accidents and by the quickest route possible. I just listen and follow her commands. Miraculous!

In the same way, prayer is a miraculous little “app” downloadable to program our daily lives, making it possible to reach our destinations stress-free. Access to a “higher navigational system” provides confidence to go places never dreamed of before. Just listen and follow directions.

Prayer is definitely about listening. When in prayer one should be more in tune to hearing from God than talking to God.

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Prayer is putting ourselves in the optimal place to receive godly directions. While in my cell phone provider’s service area, I have all the needed signal. Out of range, I can no longer hear that indispensable voice saying “in 500 feet, turn right.” The closer one follows God, the fewer U-turns will be required!

Without His grace and daily directions, I could have never arrived at my current destination a historic place of ministry in the nation’s capital. JoAnn and I are involved in the restoration of weekly worship services for Congress in the U.S. Capitol Building, following a 144-year absence.

Our journey began one Wednesday evening in rural East Texas. Our small Bridlewood congregation, which we started two years before in a cattle-sale barn, was praying for America. I closed the vespers with a simple request. “Lord,” I prayed, “if there’s any way for this small country church to become a blessing to our nation, open a door for us.” I was quite surprised when two years later, that metaphorical door turned out to be the actual door to Washington. In two short years, God directed us from a store-front church to the Capitol. Prayer is the only explanation. The destination was pre-programmed in the download, but we had to follow directions.

Our prayers had opened the app, and we then entered our desired destination an open door to bless America. When I said, “amen,” it activated His turn-by-turn navigational system. It wasn’t long before we heard a familiar voice say, “in 500 feet, turn right.” All we had do then was choose to obey. Were we ever surprised with the outcome!

You’ve heard that “a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” The first step is the most important. We began by organizing prayer rallies in East Texas communities asking people to “come pray with me.” That’s what we called our events “Come Pray with Me.” To our amazement, a thousand people would show up to pray for America. We had made the right turn!

Next, we joined the mobilization team of then Texas Governor Rick Perry’s “The Response USA” in Houston’s Reliant Stadium in the summer of 2011. JoAnn and I were put in charge of front-gate activities. Another right turn!

Then came the big turn, the unexpected turn, the final turn to our desired destination an open door to bless the nation. Through another series of miraculous events in 2012, we approached House Speaker John Boehner to hold a service in Statuary Hall commemorating the first inaugural of President George Washington, something no private citizen had ever done. Our request was miraculously granted.

Five years later, “Washington a Man of Prayer 2016” will again be televised globally over satellite and streamed on the internet to over 700 million homes. From this annual event, the “The Jefferson Gathering” – a weekly Christian worship service for members of Congress held in the Capitol Building – has been launched thanks to many prayers and support of Skyline Church in San Diego, CA, and its pastor Dr. Jim Garlow, who is the Jefferson Gathering oversight pastor.

People often ask, “Pastor, what can I do? I’m just one person. All I can do is pray.” That’s right! You can pray! Prayer changes things. It changes lives, it changes families, it changes churches, and it changes nations. Prayer shapes history. Never underestimate the power of your prayer. When you pray, heaven is moved, and things on earth begin to move.

“Despise not the day of small beginnings.” If God can use a country preacher from East Texas, He can use anyone. You just have to activate your app and faithfully follow His directions. And soon, you too will hear, “You have arrived at your destination.”

Rev. Dan Cummins is convening pastor of “The Jefferson Gathering” and co-founder with his wife JoAnn, of “Washington A Man of Prayer.”

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