Some years ago I read a book by John Ortberg with a rather long title, it was called “If you want to walk on water you’ve got to get out of the boat”. I was going through a book case with a view to throwing out some books under protest, you understand, such is my love of books. As I came across the above mentioned book I remembered a wonderful story about a guy named bob who had accepted a challenge by a friend of the author after enquiring about a passage in the bible where it says “ ask whatever you will in my name, and you shall receive it” after much discussion Bob said Ok then I’ll pray for Africa. The friend of the author stated that he thought this was a rather broad target and after further discussion Bob decided to pray for Kenya. Bob was asked “why Kenya? do you know anyone from Kenya?” Bob replied no “have you ever been to Kenya or met anyone from there”. No was the reply and so Bob set out praying for Kenya for 6 months the author’s friend gave Bob an incentive that if something miraculous happened then Bob would have to give the authors friend $500 and if nothing happened then he would receive the same amount in return. If Bob failed to pray for a day then the deal was off.
For quite a time nothing happened but one evening Bob who was an insurance salesman and had no political connections was at a dinner where he was sitting next to a lady from Kenya. Bob was immediately taken to asking lots of questions about Kenya and towards the end of the meal the lady asked him why he wanted to know so much. He said that someone was paying him to pray for Kenya. Bob was then invited to Kenya to look around this lady’s work with an orphanage, he accepted the invitation and saw the level of poverty there which clearly impacted him. When Bob returned home he wrote lots of letters to pharmaceutical companies asking if they would send the drugs and medical supplies to Kenya instead of destroying what they couldn’t sell. Some of these companies sent supplies free of charge to this lady’s charity work in the orphanage. The amount was in the region of a million dollars worth of aid. The lady from Kenya was so enthralled at Bob’s actions she invited him back in order to attend a party in his honour. Bob travelled back to Kenya and was introduced to the president who was invited to the celebration due to the orphanage being the largest of its kind in the country. The president arranged to give Bob a tour of Nairobi and during the tour they saw a prison. Bob asked about some of the prisoners and was told that they were political prisoners after which Bob said he thought that was a bad idea and that they should be released.
When Bob returned home he received a phone call from the State Department of the United States government. The government official asked him if he was recently in Kenya to which Bob replied yes. “Did you make any statements about political prisoners “yes” replied Bob I said they should be set free. The State Department official then explained that they had been trying to get these prisoners released to no avail for the past 5 years with all kinds of political manoeuvring coming to a dead end and were told that they had been set free because of a man named Bob.
Bob later received a personal invitation from the president of Kenya to return in order to pray for him during his re-election campaign.
I found the above story astounding so much so it has haunted me for years. I have never taken to praying for something for a committed amount of time and was just so unsure of what to pray for and had lots of ideas in how to progress. If I’m honest they were all rather selfish and had me wondering where could God take me in all of this. I then decided recently why don’t I just ask him what to pray for. I kept on about this for about a week and in that time met someone from Switzerland who had a lone ministry teaching churches how to develop healing teams within their churches. I immediately thought “great! I love Switzerland I’ll start praying” I then saw some news items about Afghanistan where the views overlooking Pakistan and the Himalayas were breath-taking. Great! I thought “I’ll start praying for Afghanistan”. After these ridiculous thoughts began to grow a sense of sanity I had another thought which was so simple yet so profound it could only be God. I felt an immediate peace at praying for England. My country of birth one which I had always criticised and at best mocked for its internal political upheaval. A country in the last 3 years I had read a great deal about and grown to love. While I have no doubt that I could start praying for something as random as Afghanistan and no doubt God could actually do something with those prayers. I now live in a country in such need of God’s intervention I feel a duty to start with where I am right now.
I have started praying for England, there you have it, here today the 27th December 2011 I shall pray for England and just see where God takes it. I’ll try to record as much as I can as to what I’m praying exactly. I am just praying as I feel directed. Today I prayed that God will bless this country in a way that is new and refreshing.
So in 6 months if nothing has happened I shall have wasted my time and made a fool of myself. If anything does happen I’ll just think wow!! it wasn’t me.