Last week as I was walking down to the beach from our hotel room, I noticed that Luke was riding the waves on a boogie board. Confused, I inquired where he got it. Nathan informed me that it was ours. Then I was doubly confused. I was the one that packed the suitcases, so I knew we didn’t bring it! I also knew we hadn’t gone to the store to buy one. So, where did it come from?
Nathan explained in a nonchalant way that this morning he had prayed someone would give us a boogie board, and this afternoon a random stranger came up and gave it to us. Then Nathan headed to the waves to play with the kids, and I was left standing on the beach pondering what just happened. On the one hand I was amazed by the quick and generous answer to prayer, and on the other hand I realized that I don’t think about praying this type of prayer. Thankfully Nathan has more faith to ask, and has the confidence that God will answer.
Prayer is something that I am growing in. I am good when it comes to big decisions or confusing situations. But I honestly forget to do it with the day to day or when we would like a joy bomb. (an unexpected blessing just to bring joy)
You see, we believe that prayer is important. We also believe that when you have something exciting or important coming up it is important to surround it with prayer. We have had enough plans cancelled due to sickness or problems to know that Satan doesn’t want us to experience joy.
Prayer has become part of our planning process. Anxiety and sickness seem to be the main tactics that Satan uses to ruin plans for our family. Maybe for you it is finances or things breaking down. Because Satan has won one too many times, we have started praying over our vacations, events, games and activities ahead of time.
We pray against anxiety and ask God to give us peace. We pray for healthy bodies and minds. We pray for protection over our family and those we want to enjoy the event with. If we are traveling we pray over our home and cats while we are away and over our mode of transportation as we go.
We are planners and hardly ever do we go on a trip or do an activity without figuring out the details first. (This is also something that I am working on because spontaneous things can be just as good if not better than our plans. But that is another conversation for another day.) As we plan, we ask God to lead our decisions and guide our steps. We ask Him to help us make decisions on what day to do what activity since there might be other circumstances we don’t know about that would affect our day.
We just got back from a Disney and beach trip and I was blessed by how God showed up many different times with answered prayers and little joy bombs that made our trip even more special.
Pray All the Prayers
Here are some of our prayers that we normally pray for trips, and this is how God answered them this time.
- We prayed for no travel hiccups or problems. We flew to Florida and had a connecting flight at O’Hare in Chicago both ways. Not one flight was delayed and we had no problems at any of the stops with any of us. This is a HUGE miracle and even more so now that flying is a lot more complicated and unpredictable.
- We prayed for the weather to not affect our plans. Thunderstorms were predicted to occur off and on the whole time we were gone. Every day! Rain with lightning means closed outdoor rides at Disney and not being allowed on the beach at the ocean. We did have rain two of the days at Disney but neither time prevented us from doing what we wanted to do. The rain was actually a welcome event to help cool us off. The thunderstorm at the beach was also a welcome break from the beach for all of us but one. Five of us thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity for a 2 hour nap. Now we did get a thunderstorm our last day that caused us to leave the beach at 2pm instead of 5pm. This was a bummer, but we still left feeling satisfied and thankful with the time we did get. We really didn’t feel like we should complain about the 3 hours that we ‘lost.’
- We prayed that everyone would stay healthy. With all the travel, crazy rides and changes of food we all stayed healthy the whole time we were gone. There was one day I was a little off, but it didn’t prevent us from doing anything. It did get me out of one ride that I wasn’t too keen on going on, so I actually call that a win too!
- We prayed for wisdom to know what day to do what and for guidance throughout the day as we planned our next step. Months ago we had to decide what day to go to the Kennedy Space Center and what day to go to the beach. This was a hard one to decide especially not knowing the forecast. We would have been bummed to be at the Space Center on a sunny day and at the beach on a rainy day. God led us well. The day we had picked to go to the Space Center there was a huge thunderstorm and the days at the beach had the least amount of rain. Another time where God led us well is when we were ending our day at Animal Kingdom. We had time for one more ride before the park closed. We were deciding between Avatar, an inside ride, and Mt. Everest, an outside roller coaster. After a quick prayer, we decided on Avatar. On the way to get in line, the heavens unleashed a rainstorm and Everest was closed. If we had chosen Everest we wouldn’t have had time to make it across the park to get in line for Avatar.
It’s Not Magic…
To be honest, all of our prayers don’t always get answered every time, but no matter the specific outcome we do see that our prayers mattered and made a difference. Nathan and I have been reading Mark Batterson’s books All In and Circle Maker, and it has really been challenging us in how we think about prayer. As we are learning and growing in our prayer life, we have tried to take our prayers to the next level. Here are examples of other things we specifically prayed for on this trip that allowed God to drop some joy bombs into our lap.
…But It Is His Kingdom!
- I already mentioned the boogie board blessing. We were then able to pass on the board to another family when we left the beach on our last day.
- The one ride that our family wanted to do was Rise of the Resistance at Hollywood Studios. This ride is brand new and in huge demand, so you had to be on the app at 7 am the day of your visit to reserve your spot. Unfortunately the spots filled up in literally 2 seconds and we did not secure one. Our second chance happened at 1 pm. This time we got put on the waitlist. Throughout the day we kept praying and we literally got a spot in the last hour of the park closing. This was the grand finale to our time at Disney. A wonderful way to end our trip!
- We love animals and wanted to see them in the wild. We saw alligators (in the wild) in the ditches at the Kennedy Space Center. Thankfully we were safe on the bus! The last day at the beach we saw a pod of dolphins and the boys saw sand crabs digging their homes.
- During quarantine Nathan watched all 9 Star Wars movies with the 3 oldest kids. Jacob read every book he could find about the topic, and has made dozens of Lego space ships. So let’s just say our family is obsessed with Star Wars and they really wanted to see some of the Star Wars characters. We ended up being in the right place at the right time for the character viewings and got to see almost all the ones they wanted.
- Fast passes weren’t available because the park hasn’t fully opened after COVID, so there was no way to guarantee getting on any of the rides. But God was faithful and we got to ride every ride that we had planned except for one, and even that 1 missed ride was more of our decision that we didn’t want to walk back to it and wait in the heat.
A Year of Preparation
This was supposed to be a 2020 trip, so maybe our prayers were answered so well because we had prayed for these things off and on for a year! Or maybe it happened because we made it a family affair and all 6 of us were praying in agreement. Maybe we are growing in our prayer life and asking God to lead us and speak to us and teach us what to pray. Instead of just telling Him what we want and going on our way, we sat and listened. We asked questions and asked God what we should do and then listened for answers and did what we thought He said. (That’s how Jesus and the disciples rolled, so it seems like we should too!) No matter the reason for the answered prayers, we all learned that prayers matter and God is a Good Father who loves answering prayers that bring blessing and joy.
Use the Force
I know it may seem silly to stop and pray throughout the day, especially if you have everything already planned out. But from experience it is in those pauses that we get the best guidance for the day. Our planning should be the starting point, but it is Holy Spirit that knows best. Pausing and allowing Him to change plans and lead will be some of your best decisions. He will speak to you if you are able to listen.
He Is Your Father – Ask Him!
Do you pray over and about your trips? Do you ask God what you should and shouldn’t do, and when?
If not, today is a good day to start. Each trip we get better and better at praying through the details and plans and each trip just gets better and better.
These Are the Resources You’ve Been Looking For:
Pray the Word
Here are some of the scriptures we use to lead our prayers:
Wisdom and Guidance: Psalm 37:4-7; Proverbs 2:6-9; James 1:5; Proverbs 3:4-6, Psalm 32:8
Divine Protection: Deuteronomy 28:1-2, 6; Psalm 91:9-11; Psalm 121:7-8; Psalm 4:8
Walking in Health: Isaiah 58:11; 1 Peter 2:24; 3 John 2;
For Favor: Psalm 5:12; Deuteronomy 28:6; Matthew 21:21-22; Ephesians 3:20; Proverbs 3:4
Right Place at the Right Time: Psalm 37:23, Psalm 119:133, Proverbs 3:6
To be Ambassadors for Christ: Colossians 4:6; Matthew 5:14-16; 1 Timothy 4:12
Here are the questions we ask before we plan:
- How can we glorify You through this trip?
- Where should we go?
- What should we do?
- What order should we do it in?
- Who do you want us to connect with?
- What do you have for us this trip?
Our Favorite Books About Prayer
Moving Mountains, by John Eldredge
Frequency, by Robert Morris
Walking With God, by John Eldredge
Power Through Prayer, by E.M. Bounds
If you master these books, a Prayer Jedi you will be!
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