Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Praying By The Numbers


Today is the quarterly Day of Prayer and Fasting for Operation Christmas Child.   What a joy it's been to pray through pages of prayer requests from many countries around the world and to praise God specifically for what He's doing in each of them.

Last weekend I was blessed to go to Maryland for our Operation Christmas Child regional area coordinators' retreat.  In 2011 we were praying that God would bless us with 700,000 shoeboxes in our region and He went way beyond our expectations to give us 723,327.

At the retreat our Mid-Atlantic goal for 2012 was revealed--800,000 boxes.  As I've said before, I love numbers, so I've been looking at the numbers of shoeboxes collected in our Mid-Atlantic Region in past years.

From 2007 to 2008 we increased by about 38,000 boxes (over 8% increase)
From 2008 to 2009 God gave an increase of 47,750 boxes (over 9% increase)
From 2009 to 2010 the increase was almost 69,000 boxes (over 12% increase)
From 2010 to 2011 God increased us by almost 83,000 boxes (12.88% increase)

The growth is still incremental but it seems to be accelerating.   We stand amazed at all God is doing and at the teams He is building.

At the same time, I don't want to fall into the danger of taking this growth for granted and thinking that increased growth in 2012 will happen automatically.  Over those past four years there were countless hours of work and prayer invested by thousands of volunteers.

Today as my prayer coordinator, Linda Bennett, and I prayed over the phone we asked God again for His miracles for 2012.   We are trusting Him for His provision for every goal but we never want to think that God doesn't want us involved.

I'm reminded of a quote by Martin Luther that reminds me of the tension between prayer and putting our hands to the work,

"Pray like it all depends on God, then when you are done, go work like it all depends on you."

And all those numbers?  Each one of them represents a child waiting to know God's love.  So I'm going to pray without ceasing and ask God to move me to get busy.

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