“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer”Romans 12:12
Almost from the very beginning, at our very first encounter in that ship’s passageway nine years ago, Matt and I stood off to the side and prayed together. Prayer quickly bonded us in brotherhood by the power of God’s Holy Spirit and moved us forward in blessings and through crises for an entire deployment along with key leaders and brothers in Christ aboard our warship.
By Tim Uncapher
Through the strength of prayer, our 10-month extended deployment culminated on several occasions, at home and aboard our ship, where God revealed Himself in ways and for reasons we could not have ever imagined, from the tragic accidental death of our friend’s daughter to the loss of Matt’s beloved uncle, from suicide.
Prayer is foundational to God’s relationship with us, His children. Our Lord and Savior, Jesus modeled our prayer throughout his ministry life, even up to his last breath on the cross; always in search of His Father’s relationship of fellowship in Spirit, His comfort, and divine will. In the same manner, we seek our Heavenly Father in His son’s name and in the power of His Holy Spirit. In times of need for Matt and me in nearly every crucial decision, discussion, and dark hour, we sought and would receive comfort from our Lord. I most often pray for Matt and his family whenever the Holy Spirit brings them to my thoughts. I often call or text to reach out in response to the Spirit’s prompting, and frequently the reason quickly becomes clear.
Since the event of that very first passageway prayer, a Holy Spirit-inspired response at the moment, to this very day, these moments together, driven by needs great and small, have yielded the greatest transcendent treasures. They have been moments leading to revelation, shared Biblical scripture, and the matchless blessings of experiencing God as He reached into our lives and directed our prayer and conversation without coincidence. Imagine when the Lord has done this in your own personal life, and now magnify that blessing for the shared experience of it as God spoke into each other’s lives and not only revealed His purposes but, His activity into the very moment toward the exact need or issue.
It’s difficult now to even recall with specificity the exact details of every occasion. These moments were most often beyond anything we could have come up with together or individually, on how God spoke into these moments. Beyond what we could have put in motion from our own needs and understanding, the Holy Spirit would simply direct both our prayers and bring the exact scripture to memory, from either personal devotional time, a recent sermon or Bible study, or even recent circumstances. God brought all these instances together and divinely synchronized, for the very moment in time and need, each one as a “God moment” or “God thing” because, in God’s economy, there is no such thing as time, chance, or random processes.
I have no problem recalling the circumstances and oddly, the very room or setting I am in, with great detail. Most often, these moments have been while on the phone, as Matt lives in Texas and I’ve been in Omaha or Monterey for the 9 years since our time serving together aboard our ship. So, rather than relate our personal and private conversations and experiences in these often-precious moments, I’ll say simply, they’ve occurred from the very night of Elizabeth’s passing – and our shipboard prayer group from nearly 3 years previous was immediately engaged to support Matt and his family – to early summer of 2020 when Matt was in a difficult place in writing his book of Hope. The raw replay in writing requiring him to relive these very vivid and horrific moments that absolutely NO FATHER wants to ever relive, over and over; however, Matt was choosing the greater cause and divine purposes needed time in prayer with his friend and brother in Christ.
When I called without much response from him, because he’d been on my mind, my own spirit stirred to concern about him. I give glory to God because of the Holy Spirit stirring my own heart and was finally able to make a connection because, in Matt’s own admission, his spirit was readied by God to hear and respond. I think this was the occasion in which God prepared Matt for so much progress in his book and establishing a non-profit foundation in honor of his daughter Elizabeth. Indeed, God has propelled Matt from that time to now, when he’s only a month away from book and foundation launch – just a year since removed from that call, and an amazing intervening of God’s divine arrangements in the interim where none were present nor assured, to God be the Glory, and we give great credit to PRAYER!