Prayer and Unexpected Blessings

Prayer and Unexpected Blessings

James DumontBy James Dumont12 Minutes

Excerpt from the book Let’s Pray by James and Pamela Dumont.

Prayer was an integral part of our ministry. For many years, before we began our staff work day, we spent an hour in prayer. Our time typically began with a short teaching and then flowed into corporate or private prayer. It was open to our staff as well as anyone who wished to attend.

Through these times, we learned that God answered specific prayer requests while preparing us for things He wanted us to hear and do. We learned that prayer is not just telling God the things we need or desire, but more importantly, listening to what He wants to say to us. “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come” – John 16:13.

One September, after our morning teaching time, I knelt at the left side facing the altar in silent prayer. Suddenly, I heard these words. “When the opportunity comes for you to go to Israel – go.” The last thing in the world I was thinking about was going to Israel! But, as I have learned, if something does not make sense now, just put it on a shelf. Don’t try to make something happen or try to figure it out. Just put it on a shelf and stay open to God.

About a week later, I received a phone call from a Pastor friend, Al Detter. He called to invite me to travel to Israel in November. Through sponsoring many tours, he was able to offer to me a total 2-week all-inclusive package for a greatly reduced price. I did not need to pray about it because I had already heard from heaven!

That November, I traveled throughout Israel retracing the footsteps of Jesus. I floated on the Dead Sea, sailed on the Sea of Galilee and visited many historic Biblical sites. It was an amazing experience for which I am extremely grateful.

I remember visiting Caesarea Philippi where Jesus took his disciples. There, in response to Jesus’ inquiry, Peter declared Jesus to be the Christ (Matt 16:13-19). Then, Jesus said “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven. And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”

Jesus was not saying that Peter was the rock. Jesus was saying the truth revealed to Peter, that Jesus is the Christ, that, is the rock upon which the Church is built.

The region where Jesus intentionally took his disciples to declare and reveal this truth was renown as an area of occultic idolatry. The rock outcroppings surrounding this area create a natural amphitheater. Carved in the upper walls were numerous slots where idols had once been displayed. Gushing from the lower bowels of this natural feature, springs of water once flowed from which it was believed beings from the underworld proceeded.

It was with great intention that Jesus took his disciples there, to boldly confront the idolatry and religious error of his day and to boldly proclaim he was the Messiah. This area was called “Hells Gates” and Jesus was saying believers never need fear the gates of hell because Jesus will build his triumphant church on His Lordship and the knowledge, he reveals to us! That primary knowledge is that Jesus is the Christ! The day of Jesus’ resurrection, the waters mysteriously ceased flowing from “Hell’s Gates”.

Pam was not able to travel with me on this trip in the year 2000. There were other commitments at home, but she was thrilled that I was able to go. We dreamed about a future time when, together, we would be to visit Israel. That time came in 2017.

It began in August of that year while we were attending our annual ministers retreat in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. We had our two oldest grandsons with us and were staying in a hotel. We had been enjoying the indoor pool and I had just left everyone to take the elevator to our third-floor room. As I stepped off the elevator, suddenly the Spirit of God said to me, “Pastor Detter is going to call you.”

I thought, “That’s interesting”, as I swiped my key card to enter the room. When I open the door, my phone was ringing. I saw on the caller ID that it was Pastor Detter.

After we exchanged greetings, he said to me. “As you know, Marie and I have hosted many trips to Israel. Because of our accumulated credits, we can take two guests with us on our scheduled trip this November.”

He went on to tell me, “We made a list of all the potential people we could ask. We have been praying over the list, asking the Lord to show us who to ask. This week we heard from the Lord. He said, ‘The persons I want you to ask are not on the list. I want you to ask, Jim and Pam Dumont.’”

It was somewhat strange as he apologized for not having us on the list while at the same time telling us that Jesus had trumped his list and moved us to the front. Well, again, this was not something we had to spend a lot of time to discern God’s will. It was an answer to prayer and the fulfillment of a long-standing dream. That fall, we went to Israel, but not without the devil contesting what God had so graciously planned for us.

On October 23rd, Pam was working in our yard when she slipped and broke her ankle. The news was devastating. She would be in a cast through the end of the year. That included the time of our Israel trip in November!

As I have said previously, Pam has a “Get it done” mentality, so we never considered canceling the trip. We certainly did not want to hinder our group, so we decided to trust God and make it happen. We purchased an all-terrain “knee walker scooter” upon which Pam could prop her leg and off we went!

We were moved to the head of lines during our air travel. On the ground throughout Israel, I pushed Pam up hills and, with a cable attached to the back, held on as she smoothly rolled down hills. A young missionary couple from the Philippines whom we befriended assisted us. Pam even rode a cable car to the top of Masada and toured the peak on her scooter.

On this trip, we retraced my previous trip along the Golan Heights and eventually stopped at a restaurant for lunch. Another tour bus preceded us, and the people were winding down their meal as we arrived. Navigating through the crowded restaurant, I noticed an African-American gentleman sitting alone. On his head was a ball cap with the words, “U.S. Marines”. As I walked by him, I said “Semper Fi”, a shortened version of “Semper Fidelis” which is Latin for “Always Faithful”, the Marine Corps slogan. As soon as I said it, he whipped around and said, “Were you a Marine!” I said, “No, I was in the U.S. Coast Guard – Semper Paratus. Semper Paratus is Latin for “always ready” which is the Coast Guard motto.

Without flinching, he shot back, “Close enough, sit down!” Well, this was an initiation I could not dismiss. He then began to tell me his story. In 1966 he was drafted and sent to Viet Nam. He told me from the day he landed in Viet Nam, he was scared spitless. He said his eye glasses were always covered with a layer of dirt because he was constantly facing down, hunched in fear as close to the ground as possible. This went on for some time until one day, tired of living in fear, he called out to God in prayer.

He said, “As I cried out to God, I felt as though a steel mesh encircled my entire body. Instantly, I was delivered of fear and I knew I would survive Viet Nam.” He said from that day forward, something took hold of him and he accomplished many exploits. He was not bragging on himself as he inferred of his many exploits. Rather, he was bragging on Jesus and how Jesus had delivered him from the spirit of fear!

What a lesson that day of how God wants his children to live in bold confidence despite whatever we face in life. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” – 2 Timothy 1:7. We were grateful that God had opened to us this amazing trip and glad we had learned to walk in faith and to be undeterred when the enemy tried to rob us of the blessing!

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