As you can imagine, I travel thousands of miles a year criss-crossing Oklahoma. It is my privilege to speak at multiple events and interact with our Oklahoma pastors and leaders. It is not unusual for someone to close a meeting in prayer by asking for the Lord to give us safe travel. I am always grateful, and in all these years I have experienced very few “close calls.”
A few weeks ago, I was scheduled to speak at a Hope Pregnancy Center banquet in Hugo. The morning of the banquet I called Oleta, the center’s director, to get some information and just to get a feel for the ministry. As we were concluding our phone conversation, she asked if I would let her husband pray “traveling mercy” for me. He did, and I was grateful. I thought it rather unusual for someone to pray so specifically for me in that way.
I traveled without incident and spoke at the banquet. These fine folks had gathered 300 people. Oleta and her volunteers are making a huge difference in Southeastern Oklahoma. They do a great job, sharing the ministry to those experiencing a crisis pregnancy. They are loving on women and girls in crisis and helping them to choose life for their unborn.
Just before I left, Oleta asked if she could pray “travelin’ mercies” over me. She prayed a precious prayer that God would keep me safe as I traveled back to the city. I was appreciative.
At about 11:30 p.m. I arrived in Shawnee, where I had a hotel reservation because of an early board meeting there the next day. Tired and weary, I went to my room—only to discover it was a smoking room. I long ago determined not to spend the night in a smoking room and suffer the resulting allergic reaction. So, already bone tired, I loaded up my luggage, a bit perturbed over having to drive on to the city.
About 10 miles down the interstate I topped a hill at 70 miles an hour, only to find flares on one side of the road. Staring at the back-end of an 18 wheeler, I slammed on my brakes and stopped barely short of fellowship with the back of the semi. A car was on its top in the ditch, and three others were scattered and battered on both sides of the road. The wreck had just happened.
Assured that emergency personnel were almost at the scene, I continued my journey home. As I drove, the Spirit of God reminded me of some important lessons. One—how blessed I was to have been prayed over. God is the One Who initiates prayer in the hearts of His people. He had covered me with a prayer for “travelin’ mercies,” and I was indeed the recipient of abundant grace and mercy.
I was also reminded that God’s seeming delays are really not delays at all; they are His perfect timing. I have experienced other delays in my life that proved to be the sovereign hand of God guiding me to safety. That night, if I had been just a few minutes earlier I could have been a part of the wreck.
I am thankful today for the prayers of covering offered in my behalf. I am also thankful for a smoking room delay. God did extend to me ‘travelin’ mercies.” Bless His name.