The Invitation

James 2:17 "Faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead."

I didn't have a burning bush experience, and I didn't receive a vision in the night. I simply heard God quietly convincing me through the Holy Spirit that this is what I should do.

Unfortunately, I wasn't overly impressed with my assignment. After all, I knew nothing about ministry, and I was no prayer warrior! In fact, I felt very inadequate when praying for others. And my excuses poured forth: "My English isn't very good, Lord! And remember that little detail of my full-time job? And the two boys at home that need to spend time with their dad???"

He remembered all right, but He was still adamant: I had to start an on-line prayer ministry!

I continued to argue anyway: "There's no way I can do this, God! No way at all! I'm not knowledgeable enough on the computer!"

I realize now that I was going through a crisis of belief, and God, in His love and wisdom, never contradicted me. His only response was: "Trust me." And He continued patiently working on my heart.

After several weeks of futile arguments, I set out to prove my point that an online prayer ministry was not feasible. I found several Christian webmasters who insisted that online prayer ministries were a waste of time, and a pastor friend agreed that there was absolutely no need for an online prayer ministry. I was convinced, and I was sure God should be too. "You see, Lord," I urged, "everyone agrees that this is a pure waste of time. This urging must not be coming from You, but from my imagination!"

In December 1998, tragedy struck. My father-in-law passed away, leaving my mother-in-law, who had lost her own mother just a few months earlier, alone and in despair. I was brought face to face with the fact that there are many desperate people out there, people needing a catalyst to bring them to the One who could make a difference in their suffering. I repented and asked God's forgiveness for doubting Him.

I still had a dilemma, though. I still didn't know the first thing about starting up such a ministry, and Christian webmasters continued to try and discourage me. My faith was under fire. Could I rely solely on God for divine direction? I decided to put Him to the test, and His advice proved to be excellent: Start small!

That's when the newsletter, Answers2Prayer, got started. Its initial subscriber base was about 20, and it didn't grow much in the first few months. I did, though! God was taking me through a number of major adjustments. All of a sudden, I could wake up an hour earlier in the mornings without feeling tired during the day, and in the evenings, God always provided me with the time to help those in need. I found myself praying as I had never done before. I didn't have to search for what and how to pray. The Holy Spirit simply provided me with the words. It was an astounding experience.

About six months later, God tried to persuade me to publish the newsletter on a daily basis. I resisted. He kept bugging me about it until I finally asked Him for confirmation. I received it that weekend, when two members at my church independently came to me suggesting that the newsletter be published daily instead of weekly. Bingo! I didn't need a Mac truck to run me over to realize God was really serious about making Answers2prayer into a daily newsletter!

By June 2000, the work was getting too heavy for me. The ministry was spreading so fast that I couldn't keep up. God had been trying to convince me that I needed to branch out and have volunteers help me, but I was very resistant. I couldn't see how this would work, but my biggest problem was that I didn't want to let go! It took weeks for the Holy Spirit to finally bring me to the point that I could hand the entire ministry back to Him. I am ashamed to say that I was my own worst enemy!

As of now, April 10, 2005, Answers2Prayer has 17 dedicated volunteers. Though all of us are from different church affiliations, we all have something in common: We were all called by Jesus! He is the one uniting us so that we can reach out to those who need help! Our goal is not to push anyone into any church denomination, but to guide each one into a deeper, more personal relationship with Jesus.

In order to accomplish our goal, the volunteers personally respond to, pray for and follow up on prayer requests, working under the direction of the Holy Spirit to provide encouragement, guidance and support. In addition, Answers2Prayer now hosts three different newsletters and two Bible Study series. We are also providing online Bibles, and, to a small degree, basic necessities, for the needy. Only God knows what the next step will be, but one thing is sure: He is our guide! He provides us with all our needs so that we can go forward in joining Him in His work. He knows where He wants us to go, and He has a way of "pushing" us down that path, even when we drag our feet!

I have learned many important truths through this experience, but perhaps one of the most important is that a ministry cannot be blessed if it is solely man's efforts. We need to look to Jesus for our example. Even He looked to see where God was working and joined Him, instead of doing His own thing! John 5:17 "Jesus said to them, "My Father is always at His work to this very day, and I, too, am working." NIV

You have not read this experience by chance. God wants to have a closer relationship with you. What better experience can you have than in joining Him where He is at work? Consider the Answers2Prayer ministries. Ask God if this is where He would like you to join Him in His outreach towards others. If you feel so called, don't hesitate to contact us. Don't resist Him, for in doing so, you would miss out-of-this-world blessings. He loves you and wants to be part of your life. Will you let Him?

Rob Chaffart

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