Stuck in JFK - yet Prayer with Answers

It is interesting to me that this past few weeks have really challenged my understanding of how and why we pray, and what we should expect as a result.  I admit that my prayer life is lacking in many ways, and the faith behind those prayers can be classified as mostly doubting prayers, or at the very best feeling like Im talking to a wall - rather than believing that my DAD in heaven is listening, delighting in my correspondence with Him, and happy to answer.

It is no surprise to me that the leadership small group times we will be participating in during this camp concerns prayer.  We are going to be covering some of the material from Christ in the School of Prayer by Murray.  In preparation for the week, I have read about 10 small chapters of about 34.  It has already taught me and reminded me of many of the things God's word says, but have decided based on my experiences not to take at face value.  One of these lessons of course is that God promises to answer prayers if we ask in accordance with His will.  Herein lies the mystery or problem - figuring out what to ask for.  Even prayers that seem to be void of my own selfish ambitions, seem to be for His glory alone, seem to be perfectly in line with His heart and mind regarding how life should be lived and what things we should pursue - sometimes the answer is no - but it always so for His glory and our good.  Another tidbit that stood out as a reminder to me is that we are adopted as sons into Gods family, we must approach Him with child-like faith that He hears and answers, and we have been given the great gift of calling Him Abba Father.  This term has sounded pretty strange to my ears.  It has been pointed out to me that this is essentially the same as calling Him DAD.  I havn't ever called Him that before, Father yes - but not DAD.  Here is where the relationship with God took a deeply personal turn - just this week.  I can call Him DAD and He delights in that and has adopted me into His family for that relationship.  By what name did you address your father on earth?  Try praying to your heavenly father with the same name.

SO - onto the point.  Answered prayer.  In my admitted lacking faith in God to answer prayer, I sensed that God was prompting me to put this knowledge to the test, take Him at his word, and pray for the next leg of our journey and all that we would encounter in JFK.  We had finally taken the flight to JFK, but it was well past our connecting flight departure and so we had no idea what to expect, when we would leave, or where we would go once in NY.  I prayed simply that God would direct us to the right people to help us pour through all the rebooking options and assist us in getting the best re-route plan, and I prayed that He would grant us favor with the airline staff in making all the necessary adjustments.  Fifteen minutes later, we see God work out His answer to that prayer.

As we departed the plane, and found a checkin counter that was not full of people, the woman directed us to customer care counter where there were a sea of people.  A pilot happened to be standing there waiting for his flight.  The airport was shutdown for a few hours as severe storms rolled through and nothing more was coming into or out of JFK for a while.  The terminal was packed with people, all trying to rebook and adjust their plans.  The movie scene of the snowed in airport should come to mind - it wasnt too far off from this.  The pilot directed us to a phone booth area that appeared to be full, but no one realized there were phones on the back side.  He revealed 4 available phones to ticketing agents that would help us far quicker than waiting in that line.

We found ourselves on the phone with a very helpful man who was intent on finding us the best option.  He indeed poured through the system.  One of our concerns was missing the Kiev > Simferopol connection, which was booked through another airline and outside of Delta's control.  To miss that would be just another headache.  He couldn't get us to Kiev in time for that flight, but he did setup a new plan that bypassed the need.  We are now set to fly this afternoon to Istanbul, and then directly to Simferopol - arriving in time for camp to start.  To go through Kiev would have cost us a full day (or more) most likely.

Finally, with the delay we were hoping to be entitled to food and hotel vouchers.  Upon asking a staff member for directions on how to get this done, he directed us to a kiosk that would print out anything available based on our flight number status.  It didnt give us anything.  He then told us we would have to get in that enormous line and wait for a rep...so we did, figuring that we just needed to patiently endure the system in order to finish out this last piece of the puzzle.  Two minutes later he returns and says that he feels like he needs to help us for some reason (I believe God gave us favor with him based on no merit of our own).  Out of all the people there, all scrambling to get the same things accomplished, he pulls us out of line and takes to an empty check-in counter.  From there he got on the phone and had a hotel, food, and taxi vouchers printed up for us without question.  The flight didnt technically read that hotel or food vouchers were to be given out - since the last update for delay was weather related.  We told him that the true reason we were delayed was because of that fire-extinguisher malfunction below.  He didnt see any report of that in the computer, but didnt doubt us and called in the vouchers.  As we were standing there, another came up and asked what he was still doing there - his shift was over.

It appears that God answered the prayer of favor with a helpful staff member.  A NY-er, in a crowded airport that is currently grounded, at the end of his shift, was compelled to do one last thing before going home - to help us.  It has been an interesting experience with prayer.  I look forward to what more God has to teach me, and the faith he grows as a result. We are stuck in JFK today, hoping to get to camp by Sunday lunchtime (EST).

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