Big. Bold. Prayers.

Audacious: showing a willingness to take surprisingly bold risks.
synonyms: bold, daring, fearless, intrepid, brave, courageous, valiant, heroic, plucky; antonyms: timid

This is one of my favorite words. It communicates strength and determination and these are two of the characteristics I strive for my life to reflect. It’s also taken on more meaning to me in the last six months in regards to my prayer life.

Way back in September when I was stranded on a little patch of land in East Texas I was reminded of the power of prayer. This carried into our two week field service in Pointe-Noire, Congo where our team saw some of the beautiful fruit of our prayers. And after returning to the ship in November the building up of my prayer life didn’t stop because I was comfortable again.

And now I’m in Benin preparing for the Africa Mercy’s arrival in August. On the one hand this is a piece of cake for me… I love, love, being back in business meetings and negotiating contracts, meeting ministers of state and other officials, working out logistics and problem solving, all while representing an organization I truly believe in.

On the other hand this is a lesson in audacious prayers.

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From the start we knew it wouldn’t be completely smooth sailing… Realistically you can’t change countries one week before your Advance Team leaves and not have a few bumps in the road. Well, mostly it was just one big bump in the road, I take that back, it was a brick wall. If you’ve seen Run Fatboy Run you’ll get this (if you haven’t, make it a priority to watch this movie, hilarious!).

Simon Pegg’s character is running a marathon to win back his family, no one thinks he can succeed and to their credit it looks like he won’t. But in true underdog fashion he presses on mile after mile and builds a following of cheerleaders who run with him. Until just before the finish line when he hits the brick wall and literally cannot go any further, he backs up and runs at it again with all the strength he has. But he hits it and falls down. He gets back up and sets his eyes with determination. Finally, the wall falls away brick by brick and he runs through the rubble, unhindered and finishes the race.

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Though it’s not a perfect picture of the wall we faced it is similar. Our team continued to work hard and accomplish tasks and make progress on different objectives but there did come a point where for some of us our hands were tied and we couldn’t move forward. No amount of rushing the wall was going to help. Weeks of discouragement, frustration and unfulfilled promises weighed on us. But all of us knew that we, that Mercy Ships, is right where we are supposed to be, that it’s no accident or surprise we will be in Benin for the 2014-15 field service. We also began to see God was setting a foundation on which he would be glorified and no one person could take any credit.

So we prayed. We boldly asked for the impossible. Every morning for five and half weeks we prayed for the same specific thing. Every meeting we had we discussed it and we prayed some more. And at the point of our greatest frustration God moved the hearts of men and the brick wall crumbled brick by brick.

I’ll never forget that day, waking up with an unusual amount of determination. I’ll never forget sitting in offices waiting for hours and praying one simple, bold prayer over and over and over, “Do the impossible.” I won’t forget leaving the first meeting annoyed and, in a moment of transparency, “God, did I really wear my red dress for this?!” But three hours later we had our phone call and our meeting. We sat in a cushy office and waited through power failures, reprintings, and speeches and at the end finally we had what needed.

And not a single one of us can say we did anything to get it other than pray with audacious faith.

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