by Dr. Bill Jones
Prayer & Faith – reminds me of something that happened to me 30 years ago as a young businessman. While operating a couple of successful tire stores, my partner and I decided to also begin manufacturing recapped tires. As it turned out, we should have stuck to retail. Our manufactured tires piled up in our warehouse; no one wanted them. I understood why. Though 25 years-of-age at the time, I looked 17 at the oldest. Would you buy a recapped tire made by a 17-year-old? After losing tens of thousands of dollars, we found ourselves down to $3.50, with payroll for both stores and the manufacturing plant due in 24 hours.
Right there in our warehouse, surrounded by hundreds of tires, I knelt to pray about our dire financial situation. Moments after praying, a man who owned a chain of tire stores around the East Coast entered our showroom. I knew that if he purchased our tires, it would help us not only make payroll the next day, but give us the credibility needed for other stores to buy our tires.
After giving the man a tour of the plant and our inventory, he said, “I’ll take them.” I asked, “How many?” He said, “All of them.” From that day forward, the plant operated profitably.
Yes, God answered my prayer. But this story illustrates what I have warned the CIU student body NOT to do: I made prayer my last chance, not my first choice. I had put my faith in the past success of the business and not in the present daily care of the Father God.
Though I did not get it right, King Hezekiah of the Old Testament did. In 2 Kings 18-19, the cruel Assyrian army threatened Jerusalem. Hezekiah, however, made prayer his first choice, not his last chance. Read his magnificent prayer in II Kings 19:15-19. God miraculously defeated Assyria and spared Jerusalem from devastation.
When we make prayer our first choice, and not our last chance, God promises that we will walk in peace (Philippians 4:6-7), grow in our understanding of God’s faithfulness (Psalm 27:1-7), and allow people who need God to see the difference Christ makes in our lives (Matthew 5:16).
As Hebrews 11:1 tells us, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Recall that faith drove a small group of praying women over 85 years ago to look ahead and see the impact a Christ-centered college would make on the world. Without the foundation of faith, CIU would not exist today.
Charles Wesley wrote a hymn of 11 stanzas about faith. The most popular stanza has provided an anthem for the Victorious Christian Life (another CIU core value) movement for a hundred years:
“Faith, mighty faith, the promise sees, And looks to that alone;
Laughs at life’s impossibilities,
And cries, It shall be done!”