Earlier this week I was challenged by the words of a 72-year-old lady who has a profound ministry of intercessory prayer. She said: “God showed me that if we actually prayed into what wasn’t there He would bring it into being then prepare the people to put into that place!” Now that’s quite a deep thought, but when you are involved in praying churches into being in places around the globe where the church has never existed, you have to ask yourself from time to time: How does this happen?
It got me to thinking: What became possible on the day that God first thought of you? Christians believe in a God who ascribes purpose and plan to every one of his human creations. They live out that purpose as they give themselves into His service, and they sometimes live that purpose even without giving themselves to Him.
The prophet Jeremiah says: “I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb”. (Jer. 1:5) and David records in what we know as the 139th Psalm: “all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be”. Both of these statements invite us into the incredible adventure of discovering what God made possible on the day that He first thought of each of us. This is not about time messing with the sovereignty of God, for those who might suggest that God did not think us up on any particular day. Rather, God, dwelling in eternity, invites us to take a sideways glance out of our time-defined world, into His plans.
In the second chapter of Luke’s gospel we read of a woman called Anna. She had been a widow for many years and at least eighty-four. She never left the temple in Jerusalem, presumably having been there for many years. She ministered before to God in prayer and fasting, but had been so positioned by His purposes that she should be in place on the day that Mary and Joseph brought their new born son into the temple, so that she could speak about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. One brief moment worthy of scriptural record defined a life-time of service to God. That moment became possible when God had the idea to birth Anna to Phanuel and his wife.
In another place and time, centuries displaced from these events, the purposes of several people came together to build a Christian school in Niamey, Niger. Over a ten year period grade-levels were added and class-rooms were built so that earlier this year 280 children could populate nine classes and receive an education that not only includes academics but introduces the ways of the Lord. At the end of the 2012-13 academic year the school ranked first among 65 elementary schools in its district, in one of the poorest and most Islamic nations in Africa.
Named Anura, from the Hausa word for light, the school became possible the moment the Lord thought of the many who’s lives ultimately have made it possible. What became possible the moment the Lord thought of you?