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Catching up with God’s plan

After attending last year’s Suffolk Leadership Prayer Breakfast, I returned to the office inspired and excited about the National Day of Prayer, uplifted by the joyful presentation of the children’s choir from Africa and generally amazed at the way God moves in our lives at just the right times and to such incredible effect.

Since that day last year, I have looked forward to repeating the experience during the 2010 National Day of Prayer, and when organizers first contacted me about publicizing the event, I quickly made sure they knew that I wanted to be on the list of attendees.

As is so often the case, however, the Lord had a slightly different plan.

I was quite literally looking at my prayer breakfast ticket on Wednesday when I listened to the voicemail message informing me of a separate Day of Prayer event that was in the works for Lakeland High School. A sophomore there, Chris Whiting, had decided to organize a prayer circle outside the school for fellow students, faculty and teachers at Lakeland, and the event was set for the same time as the prayer breakfast.

Coincidentally — though I don’t really believe in coincidences — someone else at the newspaper that morning had made a last-minute request for a ticket to the breakfast. I had told him there wasn’t much chance that we could get an extra ticket, but as I disconnected from my voicemail, his appeal came back to mind.

If I covered the prayer circle at Lakeland, I could give my colleague my ticket to the breakfast, I heard a small voice say. And a 10th-grade student who was willing to step out so boldly for Jesus Christ deserved to have his story told.

I actually fought the idea for a while. But I kept coming back to the need I felt to be on hand at Lakeland to see what God would do there. So I let go of my breakfast ticket.

And what an incredible experience I was allowed to be a part of. God strengthened my own faith in the power of prayer as I listened to a youth pastor share testimony of God’s provision in his own life and praise for the boldness of the young people praying for their school, their families and the lost.

And just as I began to be discouraged that so few were willing to make that stand for prayer and for Christ, the group doubled in size. Soon, it doubled again. And through it all a godly man talked about a relationship with Jesus, about faith, about prayer. And he encouraged those whom God had sent his way.

Including a newspaper editor who couldn’t have been more glad about the wrench that God had thrown into his carefully planned Day of Prayer.