Monday, July 13, 2009
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I was meeting with an FAA official in preparation to speak at a meeting of private pilots. Actually, the only pilot I know much about, of course, is Pontius, but I had been asked to speak on the subject of peace and stress. Mr. FAA happened to mention to me that there were 10,000 private pilots in the New York area. That's when I became especially grateful for a special group of people called flight controllers. When you're up there in an airplane, and you think about all the other airplanes that are up there with you, it's nice to know that the pilot isn't just trying to figure out by himself where to fly. All across the country, he's got the help of that man or woman in the tower who can see the whole picture of what's going on in the sky and or even on the ground. And that pilot doesn't check in, oh just every once in a while. He makes sure he stays in touch with the tower!
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "In Touch With the Tower."
A pilot needs to stay in constant contact with the person who guides him through his entire flight. And as we try to pilot the life that God has given us through all the "dangers, toils and snares," we really need to stay in touch with our Flight Controller in heaven; the God who can see what we could never see, who can guide us on a path that we could never figure out on our own.
Recently, I have been tremendously challenged and inspired by a man in the Bible who understood that prayer isn't just some spiritual compartment in your life - it's an all-day lifestyle. Nehemiah ultimately learned that he was God's man to lead the seeming "Mission Impossible" of rebuilding God's city against tremendous odds and opposition. He worked for the most powerful man in the world, the king of Persia. When the king discovers his servant's deep burden for the plight of Jerusalem, he suddenly asks Nehemiah a loaded question, "What is it you want?"
In Nehemiah 2:4-5, our word for today from the Word of God, he says, "Then I prayed to the God of heaven, and I answered the king." I like that. Pray, then answer. He probably didn't kneel down right there in the throne room, bow his head, close his eyes, and fold his hands. But in his heart, he knew that he must get instructions from the tower before he flew into answering this all-important question. The result, by the way, was the king's full support of the project and resourcing the project that God had laid on Nehemiah's heart.
When Nehemiah had first gotten a report on the devastation of God's city, the Bible says, "When I heard these things...for some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven" (Nehemiah 1:4). Praying before you answer someone. Praying when you get bad news. When enemies threatened an attack, it says, "We prayed to our God and posted a guard" (Nehemiah 4:9). All right, that's praying about obstacles and dangers. When he was wearing out, Nehemiah says, "I prayed, 'Now strengthen my hands'" (Nehemiah 6:9).
It's a powerful secret of spiritual greatness to pray your way through your day, not just when it's your "prayer time." Pray before you make that call, pray before you write that letter or send that e-mail, pray before you turn on your computer or the television, pray before a date, pray before you go into that hotel room, pray before a deal, before a purchase, pray before you decide, pray before you start your day, and pray before you go to sleep at night.
Stay in touch with heaven. As the Bible says, "Pray continually" (1 Thessalonians 5:17). That's how you'll avoid a crash. That's how you'll avoid a course that will cost you. That's how you'll arrive safely at your destination. Throughout your flight, stay in constant touch with the Tower!