Divine Appointments in Daily Life
Miracles often are a daily affair when we have a "praying life" instead of a separate "prayer life." A praying life allows the Holy Spirit, who has taken up permanent residence in us, to lead us to people who are hurting and in need. Jesus sent us the Holy Spirit to help us pray what is on the Father's heart. Our job is to listen and recognize His leading.
I like how Jennifer Kennedy Dean, executive director of the Praying Life Foundation, describes this praying life.
[It] is a dimension of living, in which you experience minute-by-minute the flow of God's provision. You are met at every step with the progressive unfolding of His tailor-made plan for your life. Ephesians 2:10 says, "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them." You cease your struggle to find the will of God because the will of God has found you. Living life open to the Spirit—actively and intentionally cooperating with God on an everyday basis—is possible. Jesus showed the way . . .
Almost every day, I find myself involved in unexpected Spirit-appointed tasks as God points out troubled people everywhere who need an intercessor to plead their case in heaven's court. I am honored and thrilled the Father entrusts me with His precious ones. In prayer and practice, we learn to recognize His voice and His leading. He books divine appointments for us; He opens the doors; and He will do it in unexpected times and places.
Intercessors are empowered by the Holy Spirit to discern the clashing of the kingdom of God and the kingdom of darkness. Philippians 4:6 states, "Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God." I take great confidence in this verse.
Unexpected Mission Field
I travel thousands of miles a year as an intercessor and speaker, so I spend lots of time in cars and airplanes. They are often a mission field for miraculous encounters.
I remember a few surprise appointments while flying home after an Aglow prayer blitz in Miami, Florida. I had recently become the U.S. national president of Aglow and was traveling with a board member and friend, Ruth. By God's grace we were bumped into first class, and as we were waiting for takeoff, the flight attendant asked if we wanted something to drink. When she walked away, Ruth whispered to me, "Bobbye, I sense this woman is disturbed. Since you are on the aisle, when she returns, read Psalm 121 to her." The attendant came back to our seats and I asked her permission to read something especially for her. She agreed.
Softly, I repeated the words of the psalm:
I will lift my eyes to the hills—from whence comes my help? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is your keeper, the LORD is your shade at your right hand. The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD shall preserve you from all evil; He shall preserve your soul. The LORD shall preserve your going out and your coming in from this time forth, and even forevermore.
Tears welled up in the flight attendant's eyes, and she quickly walked away. She returned shortly, leaned over and told us quietly, "I am an alcoholic. The words you read mean so much to me right now."
Later on, the flight attendant walked back to see us once again. She commented that the pilot of our plane did not like her, which made her job much harder. Sensing we needed to pray, I said, "May we pray with you briefly?"
The three of us walked quietly to the tiny kitchen area in the front, and she closed the curtain behind us. Ruth and I gently, lovingly prayed prayers of deliverance over her and spoke blessings into her life.
Later, after we were back in our seats, we noticed the pilot walk out and say something to her. Ruth and I immediately prayed. The flight attendant then walked down the aisle with a smile on her face, leaned over and whispered, "He complimented me and said I was doing a good job."
Excited by what had just happened, I wrote out Psalm 121 on the back of an Aglow booklet entitled Receive All God Has for You and gave it to the flight attendant. She said she would read it and thanked us for our prayers and encouragement. As we left the airplane, she gave each of us a hug and said, "I feel better than I have felt in weeks."
I was grateful Ruth followed the Holy Spirit's prompting and asked me to read that psalm to this troubled woman. Ministering to her had been a divine appointment arranged by God—and a powerful reminder that helping in the healing process of every person's soul, claiming or reclaiming it for the Lord and for His kingdom is the first chapter in God's miracle book. Sometimes this happens in prayer services or in large crusades, but it can also happen in an airplane galley.
On another trip, a flight attendant saw me reading my Bible and asked if I was a Christian. She smiled and said, "I am also a Christian."
Midway into the flight, she came and sat in a vacant seat across the aisle, and leaned over to speak to me quietly. "I am a Christian, but I am so depressed," she confessed. "I am not supposed to talk to passengers about personal things, but since you are still reading your Bible, maybe you can help me. I was despondent enough last Friday that I attempted suicide again."
I started praying silently: "OK, Lord, what shall I do next?"
We moved to empty seats at the back of the plane and began to talk. With the Holy Spirit giving me words, I prayed quietly with her, binding the spirit of murder and suicide. Then I reminded her about God's holy, unconditional love, telling her, "You do not have to be fearful, because God is more powerful than the enemy who is seeking to destroy you." We talked awhile longer, and she recommitted her life to Jesus.
I should tell you that I don’t attempt to convert everyone I sit next to on airplanes. I chat with those who want to make small talk, and many times I just read. But if God gives me an open door, I walk through it. I listen and try to discern what is happening in each situation, and fortunately I care deeply about people.
Sometimes these appointments don't go smoothly, but God does have a sense of humor. Let me tell you about the time when there was no room in the inn.
On my way to speak at a retreat, I had to change planes three times in order to reach my destination. When one flight was delayed, I missed all the connecting ones, so I had to phone my hostess to tell her I wouldn't arrive until after midnight. I could hear the fear in her voice as she said she did not drive that late in the evening.
"Oh! Then I will find a hotel near the airport," I responded. That was easier said than done!
I arrived to find every available room within miles occupied by athletes practicing for the Winter Olympics. I finally found a seat and settled in at the airport for the night. About 2 A.M., an airport guard advised me the terminal was closing and I would have to go outside. He can't be serious, I thought. "Can you just lock me inside? I have not been able to get a hotel room. I need to stay here until morning," I implored.
"Sorry, but no," he answered. So, I lugged my suitcase outside to the curb and sat on it. Okay, Lord, what now? I thought.
Shortly, a young man drove up and asked if I needed help. After introducing ourselves, I told Tom my plight.
"Maybe if I take you to one of the hotels, they will let you in if you are standing there," Tom commented.
So off we went in Tom's car. I was turned away at two hotels, and then we were given the name of a third place with a possible vacancy. Tom indicated that he did not think I would want to stay there.
"It's three o'clock in the morning, and you have no place to stay. How can you still be smiling?" he asked, as we returned to the car. "Son, I'm here on the Lord's assignment, and I have to trust He knows what He's doing. I believe He sent you to be a comfort to me."
Tom started weeping. He told me that his father was a pastor but confessed, "I left the Lord and haven't been in church for years."
He pulled his car to the side of the road, and we talked for the next 40 minutes. Tom recommitted his life to Christ.
I thought, Lord, is this why I am here—for this young man—yet I still have no place to go.
I told Tom to take me to the "mystery hotel" the last clerk had mentioned. He acted nervous but agreed.
"How long will you need the room?" the motel's female clerk asked me.
"About three hours," I said naively.
Tom carried my luggage, walked me to my room and said good-bye. As he was leaving, I spoke blessings over him.
It did not take me long to realize I was in a house of prostitution—the walls were very thin.
Early the following morning, I went to the office looking for a cup of coffee.
"None here," said the man at the desk. "But you can get a cup at the bar three blocks down the street."
"I do not frequent bars," I replied.
"Are you the woman who checked in a few hours ago?" he asked curiously. "My wife told me about you."
As we talked, he smoked two cigarettes and started coughing severely. I kept feeling impressed to pray for this man.
"Sir, may I pray for you? It is not God's will that you have emphysema. Smoking these cigarettes is not healthy for you." He agreed for me to pray, but I could sense he was nervous. I put my hand on his shoulder and started praying. As God touched him, he crumpled to the floor and lay very still, his eyes closed. The female clerk from the night before came to see what happened.
"It is okay," I assured her. "Your husband was having a severe coughing spell, and I prayed for him. I believe he is resting in the Lord."
She was astonished. I was quietly asking God what I should do next. "Be at peace," His still small voice whispered to me.
The man opened his eyes. "What did you do?" he asked. His cough had subsided.
His wife gave me a cup of coffee, and then we sat and talked.
"I thought I ended up here by accident, but now I do not believe it was an accident at all," I explained. "God wants to touch your lives with His love." He certainly did!
I phoned the retreat person and told her where I was. Aghast, she told me that she never went to that part of town. At that point I figured perhaps I should just fly home—until she said she would pick me up in 30 minutes.
God redeems everything, and this was certainly evident on that trip. The retreat itself was wonderful. As I was giving my testimony about the Japanese man asking me if I knew Jesus, a Chinese student, who had stopped to see what was going on in the auditorium, literally came running down the aisle.
"If a Japanese man helped you, would you help a Chinese man?" He fell into my arms sobbing. "I have heard you talking about Jesus, and I want Him in my life."
The 500 people at the retreat, mostly women, embraced this young man in prayer. The Holy Spirit was obviously at work in his heart.
Disciplining the Body
I have also been blessed to be on the receiving end of some divine appointments in everyday life.
When I was 40 years old, my son Jim started me on a walking and jogging program that, to this day, helps keep me healthy and fit. While living in New Orleans, I walked a mile a day at first, then three miles a day, and eventually I was jogging up to five miles a day along Lake Pontchartrain. Before I walked home, I would climb onto one of the big rocks next to the lakeshore, cool off and meditate on the holy things of God. I had heard stories of crime being committed near this lake, but I trusted God would protect me.
One time, I noticed an Orthodox rabbi walking and praying by the lake. As I passed him, I spontaneously blurted out, "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel." I kept jogging, thinking, Why did I do that? You don’t know that man. Orthodox rabbis don't talk with women on bike paths.
When he passed me on the return, he responded without stopping, "Blessed be His holy name forever."
We didn't introduce ourselves, but his became a pattern each time I returned to the lake. As I jogged by him, I called out an Old Testament Scripture; on the return, he responded with a matching Scripture. We communicated this way for about six months.
One day, as I passed him, I said, "He welcomes us at His banqueting table."
"His banner over us is love," he responded immediately.
About a mile down the path, alone, I ran into danger. A menacing-looking man on a bicycle pushed me off the path. Knowing this could be trouble, I called upon the name of Jesus. The man laughed at me.
I heard rapid footsteps, turned around and saw a huge, beautiful black man running toward me. The menace mounted his bike and took off.
"Are you all right?" the rescuer asked. "Let me run back along the path with you so that man will not return," he offered. Then, we met the Jewish rabbi waiting on the path.
"I saw God's jogger was in trouble," he told me, "and I asked this man to help you." My rescuer, I learned was a football player for the New Orleans Saints.
I hugged that rabbi. "Thanks be to God," I said. The rabbi and I soon developed a bond of friendship, and he shared with me the things he was teaching others.
Our job as believers and intercessors is to recognize the opportunities when God presents them to us. This includes being able to hear His prompting, which often comes in gentle ways. We must know His Word well, so we will be confident of His principles and sensitive to what is needed at the moment—an encouraging word, a loving gesture, a prayer or something more. Like the traffic controller informing the pilot of what to do next, we wait for the Holy Spirit to give us guidance. We can't just rush in and bowl people over.
God will use our minds, senses and emotions to reveal who Jesus is to people He puts in our path.
How do we listen to the voice of the Lord? By being a diligent, persistent seeker after the heart and ways of God—not just a casual inquirer.
For me, this took many hours of praying, waiting and studying God's Word to learn His ways. Slowly, surely, I fell deeper in love with Him. The key was spending time with Him.
As we grow in this intimate relationship with Him, we will recognize opportunities we did not see before. We know God can operate through dramatic displays of supernatural power. But many of His miracles come in the quiet ordinariness of daily life.
My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways
My ways . . . For as the heavens are higher than the earth
so are My ways higher than your ways, and
My thoughts than your thoughts.
Miracles Happen When Women Pray by Bobbye Byerly, copyright 2002.
Used by permission of Regal Publishing. All rights reserved.