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When All Else Fails… Pray!

April 1, 2016

Chuck Swindoll recounts an incident that took place in 1968 on an airliner bound for New York:

“Descending to the destination, the pilot realized that the landing gear refused to engage. He tried the controls again and again to make the gear lock down into place. No success.” Swindoll goes on to explain how the tower was informed of the situation, the runway prepared with foam, the fire trucks and emergency vehicles moved into positon. The Passengers were told to place their heads between their knees and grab their ankles just before impact. The landing was now seconds away. Swindoll continues, “Suddenly the pilot announced over the intercom: We are beginning our final descent. At this moment, in accord with International Aviation Codes established at Geneva, it is my obligation to inform you that if you believe in God, you should commence prayer.” 

The plane belly landed without a hitch. No one was injured and, other than extensive damage to the aircraft, the incident was mostly forgotten. When someone asked the pilot afterward about the International Aviation Code the pilot had quoted, in typical professional reserve he simply stated, “No comment.”

Isn’t it amazing that when backs are against the wall, when there is no escape and nothing else can be done, we finally resort to prayer? Have we become so convinced of our ability to solve almost any problem through human ingenuity that we have locked God out of the equation and only turn to Him in desperation?

If we’re honest, prayer for us in self-sufficient, self-made, North America, is a final option. When all else has failed, when we have worked as hard as we can, visited the Doctor, run a battery of tests, searched the want ads, or fixed blame on someone else, then we concede that perhaps it has “come to this” and it is time to pray.

The Bible contains some ancient wisdom for this generation. Found in Psalm 20:7 we read, Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.”

As I wrote last month, I am an optimist. I believe we live in amazing times, through technology and perseverance we have accomplished astounding feats, but there is still a limit to our abilities. And where our finite ability falls short, God’s infinite wisdom and power proves to be more than enough.

If we consider the issues facing our world today, none casts a greater pale over our culture than terrorism. Every effort we seem to employ in fighting this terror falls short or serves to further exacerbate the problem. But prayer can create victory, where every other effort fails. Recently, I read of an ISIS fighter, who said he “enjoyed killing Christians,” has told missionaries that he has been having dreams of a man in white. The man told him, “You are killing my people.”  Before the fighter murdered one Christian, the believer said, “I know you will kill me, but I give to you my Bible.”  He killed the Christian, then took his Bible and began to read it. Jesus appeared to him again, calling him to become a Christian. Now the man is asking missionaries how he can become a follower of Christ and be discipled.

Muslims the world over are having such dreams of Jesus. God is miraculously at work around the world—missionaries are reporting record numbers of conversions within Buddhist and Hindu cultures as well.  And the Spirit is also working dramatically among the Jewish people. People are having supernatural occurrences, not orchestrated through human effort, or man’s wisdom, but as the fruit of prayer!

We begin a new focus this month summed up in the call of God recorded in Psalm 27:8 (AMP) “Seek my face, require my presence as your vital need.” We need a move of God. So BEFORE our backs are against the wall… BEFORE we have exhausted every other means, let us concede that it has come to this, and turn to the Lord in prayer recognizing His presence is indeed my vital need.