Here’s what happened to me yesterday morning.
I’m in Louisville for the Southern Baptist Convention, except I’m not attending any meetings. I’m sitting in a comfortable chair at the ‘Baptist Press’ booth staring at whoever is sitting in the comfortable chair opposite and trying to sketch them. Yesterday, the first day, I drew from 9 to noon and again for some 3 hours in the late afternoon, for a total of some 125 victims. Oops, excuse me. Subjects they are.
Lots of fun.
Yesterday morning, early, I went out looking for a Kinko’s or something similar. I had drawn and colored two cartoons to hand out to pastors (showing people attending the convention, someone speaking, leaving room for me to write in the name of an individual pastor), and needed color copies. About 25 of each.
No one in our Baptist Press group knew of a color copier available, so I went driving. These businesses are everywhere, right? You would think. But not down any of the thoroughfares I was taking. After 10 minutes, I had a brainstorm.
I would pray about it.
Now, I’ve been praying for decades. I believe in prayer and write articles for this blog on prayer. But, as some will recall my saying herein, there are no experts on prayer for my money. We’re all learners, only some are in kindergarten and others in the third grade just seem advanced to the rest of us.
Prayer is not always the first thing I think of in a given situation. I started to say, “Don’t ask me why,” but I know why. I’m not a particularly spiritual individual. As much as that bothers me, it troubles the Lord so much more. As I confess it here, I repent of it in my heart.
“Lord,” I prayed, “I need a color copier, one open at this hour. You have them everywhere. Please lead me to the one where you want me. Amen.”
And I intensified my looking. Still, no Kinko or reasonable facsimile.
That Sprint store looked open so I went inside. No, the manager–if that’s who he was in the front–had no clue where I’d find a copy store. As I turned away, the woman in his office stepped up to the door.
“Down the street two blocks on the left. Just beyond the Speedway station.”
The secretaries always know more than the bosses. Why didn’t I ask her in the first place?
There it was, big as life. And the light was on.
I stepped inside and told the young man, “Could I get some copies run? Color copies?”
“Just a minute. You need to talk to the man.”
A young pony-tailed man came out of the back. “Help you?”
“Sure,” he said when I told him, “we can do that.”
While he worked in the back, I read the plaques on the wall and picked up his business card.
When he returned (“All done!”), I said, “Just reading your clippings. Your business started two years ago. How is the economic thing affecting you?”
“Actually, it’s helping,” he said. “People don’t have big bucks for the large advertising agencies they’ve been using, so they come to us. We can do a lot of great stuff for small prices, so it’s been good for us.”
I told him I’m a cartoonist and will be drawing for the Southern Baptists who are in town, and would he let me sketch him? “Sure. I’d like that.”
Two minutes later, the result was pretty good. “Hey, I like that.” As always, I suggested if he has kids in his life, he run off copies–“If you can find a good copy store!”–and let them color it, then send one to his mom.
“How much?” I asked, sliding my credit card across the counter.
“No charge. We’ll call it even–the drawing for the copies.”
I did not protest (I’ve learned!). “What a nice thing to do. Thank you so much.”
When he started to hand me a business card, I showed him I’d already picked one up. He said, “Maybe you can throw me some business.”
Back at the convention center (the Kentucky Exposition Center), Laura of the BP took his card and promised to send the next order for copy work to my new friend.
Rosalind Goforth, missionary to China in the old days, was telling a group in this country about how the Lord answers prayer. On a particular morning, as she was dressing for the day, she could not find her hat pin. (Remember those?) So she stopped to pray and a moment later, found it.
A man in her audience protested. “I don’t think we ought to trouble God with such small things.”
The great missionary said, “Sir, never forget–the God of the infinite is also the God of the infinitesimal.”
My friend Murph prays for a parking spot as he approaches his downtown destination. “It never fails,” he smiled. “Just as I’m turning onto the street, someone pulls out of a parking space ahead of me.”
Tell someone this and their mind automatically goes to what I call the big question: “Are you using this power–the power of prayer–for little things when there are such great needs in this world today?”
I don’t know about you, but I’m praying for Iran. I’m praying for the Lord to do His will there, praying for freedom to prevail, for a country to emerge from this where people can worship as they please and such dictatorial leaders will be a thing of the past.
Flash back 25 years, to the mid 1980s. Tell someone you are praying for the fall of Communism and for the Soviet Union to dissolve and the iron curtain to be torn down. What would be their reaction? What would be yours?
And yet all those things happened shortly afterwards.
Someone was praying.
When we get to Heaven, we’ll learn whose prayers were answered when that Communistic monster closed up shop. And wouldn’t we love for it to have been us!
“You have not because you ask not.” (James 4:2)
So, why not ask for the big things on our hearts?
I love the little line from John Newton that goes:
“Thou art coming to a king, Large petitions with thee bring, For His grace and power are such None can ever ask too much.”
You have something on your heart, something as small as a hatpin, parking spot, or copy store, ask Him to help. You have something massive on your mind, something as big as the fall of Communism or the unseating of the Ayatollah in Iran? Ask the Lord.
Why not? What can it hurt? And you might just become the catalyst in world transformation.
Prayer: the mightiest force in the world. It is, that is, when coupled with faith from God’s children.
By the way, that copy store? On the way out the door, I noticed a sticker announcing their opening time as 9 a.m. It was 20 minutes till nine at that moment.
This guy wasn’t even open yet.
God is good.