We have a God that wants to bless us. He is not afraid to hear our large prayers. He is ready for our specific requests. His only expectation is that we are attentive to the small details. If we do so, he is ready to bless us with the big stuff. You can read more on this topic from my recent post by clicking here.
As a follow up to that blog post, I wanted to share the following story. It points to God’s provision and our work to be and pray specific.
I ran a training conference for a few hundred young leaders from around the world. It was a residential conference, so the students lived in the dormitories on this beautiful, urban college campus.
Students came with a lot of luggage and large bags because this was a three-week training conference. Coming from around the world, we were moving in students all day. To make for an easy move-in, students propped open the exterior doors. Once in their rooms, they opened windows to get fresh air in the rooms that had been vacated by the college students a few weeks earlier.
The hallways were full of laughter, smiles and conversations as these young leaders left their dorms for the general session across campus. They left with so much excitment and expectation that they didn’t think about closing doors or windows on this beautiful college campus.
When the students returned to the dorms after the orientation, many found that their luggage and bags had been ransacked. Opportunistic thieves came through propped open doors and open windows and had helped themselves to wallets. The police said that they had probably been watching us move in all afternoon and when we left the doors open, they took advantage.
We worked through dinner gathering a list of what was stolen. We were lucky that it was only wallets. Clothing and computers had gone untouched. The problem is that these young folks were planning on three weeks of spending money so they had a lot of cash. At the end of dinner we announced that we would be taking an offering that night at chapel to help the students recover.
The speaker that night asked the students to give. This was a newly forming community, so we didn’t know what to expect. We had come up with a figure for how much we needed. The speaker said, “We need $4,536.” He could have said, “We need about forty-five hundred” or “We think we need about $4,536.” Instead, he spoke boldly to the amount, boldly to the work of the investigators in aggregating the total and boldly to the need. “Let’s pray for $4,536” and then he prayed and passed the baskets.
After chapel the leadership team gathered to count the cash. These were young leaders in ministry. They didn’t have much, so most of the giving was in ones, fives, tens and even coins.
We carefully added everything up. First, groups of dollars, then groups of tens, groups of hundreds and thousands. We worked to pull it all together like children having busted open piggy banks.
As we looked at the running total and the pile of money remaining, we all thought, through wry smiles, “We are going to land on exactly $4,536.” Could that be? Could this be some kind of amazing miracle?
Well, we didn’t land exact. Our final total was $4,548. We were $12 over.
The speaker didn’t let the possible miracle go unnoticed, he said to our team, “That is how God works. He gives you exactly what you need and then enough for a pizza.”
Cards and wallets were found by police a few days later in the bushes near a casino. There wasn’t any cash remaining.
We distributed the funds from the offering to the victims. The story of the tally became lore during the three weeks. It changed the way those students prayed, praying specifically. It also changed our mindset when we all ate pizza.