Life’s interruptions are God’s invitations. - Neil McClendon
In 1806, five students from Williams College gathered in a field to pray and discuss how to impact Asia with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When a thunderstorm arose, they took shelter under a haystack as they continued to seek God for direction. What seemed like a small, spontaneous prayer meeting gave birth to the first-ever American missions agency and sparked the mobilization of 100,000 college students through the Student Volunteer Movement, the greatest missionary movement the world has ever seen.
Divine appointments birth divine assignments.
God loves using small, spontaneous things for His purposes, because divine appointments birth divine assignments. Even though I have never had a prayer meeting under a haystack, I have had some powerful prayer meetings in unlikely places—caves, cabins, dorms, planes, hotel lobbies, locker rooms, fields, classrooms, and of course, churches! Some were large and planned, but most were small and spontaneous.
In 2007, I was traveling with FCA teammate Barry Spofford, who was my spiritual mentor, to Europe to start a ministry partnership with an organization. The goal was to reach coaches and athletes in other countries. At that time, FCA was U.S.-bordered, and we didn’t have a strategy to reach the nations.
Our host made a decision just a week before our trip to show us a ministry facility in northern Italy. As we toured the facility, he shared the rich spiritual roots of the valley where the facility was located. He then took us to the stone cabins the Waldensians used as a Bible college during the 12th century to train hundreds of missionaries to be sent throughout Europe to preach the Gospel.
Then it happened—a small, spontaneous prayer meeting broke out! As we knelt on the stone floor of one of the cabins, we began to seek God’s divine direction. God revealed to us a similar vision of using the valley to train college students to reach the nations through sports. This divine appointment birthed a divine assignment…the Impact Internship Program.
Eighteen months later during the summer of 2009, we launched our first Impact program in that same valley in Italy with 15 college students. Since the summer of 2009, we have trained 201 college students, including 32 this summer, with the goal to train young leaders in spiritual leadership, sports ministry, and international outreach.
Our Cabin Prayer Meeting has directly impacted 201 young leaders who have influenced thousands to this day in numerous countries. As a result of this small, spontaneous prayer meeting, God has launched hundreds of leaders into ministry, coaching, education, and business. The Impact Internship has become one of the most strategic ways we intentionally invest in next generation leaders.
I am encouraged and challenged by Paul’s words in Colossians 4:2, “Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful.” Devotion includes small, spontaneous prayer meetings. Once we pray, watch out and give thanks. I am thankful for what God did in 2007 in a small stone cabin in Italy. God is always arranging divine appointments so that we can have divine assignments.
What might seem as an interruption, God uses as an invitation.
What might seem spontaneous, God positions as strategic.
What might seem small, God sees as significant.
“Father, help me to see things the way You see things. Teach me to be devoted in prayer while being watchful and thankful. I want to be a part of small spontaneous prayer meetings that lead to divine assignments. In Jesus’ name, amen.”