"When I pray, coincidences happen."

“When I pray, coincidences happen, and when I don’t pray, they don’t,” William Temple once said.

This isn't Nell -- Nell's even prettier :)
My friend Nelle would agree. 

I haven’t known Nelle long. She attends the church my husband and I recently joined when he accepted a position as its student minister. 

Her faith immediately impressed me. A retired schoolteacher and a widow, Nelle asked the Lord how she should spend the remainder of her life. A serious question like this deserves a serious answer, and she got one. 

God’s answer came in the form of a need. She heard about missionary families on the field half a world away. Attempting to acclimate to the country and culture, they attend language school full time while also attempting to homeschool their children. The demands of class, homework assignments, cultural challenges, and their children’s educational needs are overwhelming. 

Enter Nelle, stage left. 

I met Nelle three weeks before she was due to depart for a 3-month term of service. 

“God has answered so many prayers about this trip,” she told our Sunday school class one morning. “There are only a few details that still need to come together.” She described a visa concern and asked our class to pray. As everyone bowed their heads, I did too, but I also shuffled around in my purse for a business card. 

“I know someone who works with the government,” I told her, pressing the card into her hand after our prayer. “Here’s her number; I think she can help you.” 

We parted ways, and I didn’t think of the conversation again until a week later, when we met in the church parking lot. 

“You and I have a mutual friend,” she exclaimed with delight. 

“Who?” I asked. 


“Debbie?” I repeated, slightly confused. “The Debbie that lives in Delaware?” 

“One and the same,” she smiled. 

“How do you know Debbie?” I asked. Debbie lived in Columbia, but had moved to Delaware almost three years ago. 

“She was my nurse practitioner, and she’s also my dear friend. She’s been praying for all the details of my trip, including my visa concern,” Nell replied. “When I shared with her how our youth minister’s wife knew someone in Washington who could help me, she put the pieces together and knew it was you.” 


Nelle in Columbia asked Debbie in Delaware to pray about her visa. God answered Debbie’s prayer by making me aware of the need. Nelle phoned my contact, and now she’s cleared for travel. 

And while we’re bragging on God’s amazing networking skills, let’s go ahead and throw in the fact that Debbie has also been praying for my husband’s ministry, asking God to place him in a church that needs us. He accepted the call six weeks ago. Just in time for me to meet Nelle. 

“When I pray, coincidences happen,” William Temple said, “and when I don’t pray, they don’t.” 

A friend once described God’s perspective as being like the 3-level chessboard crew members played on in the 60’s TV show Star Trek. “We’re the pieces, and all we can see is the next move in front of us,” he explained. “God, however, sees every piece, every move, and every level. The world is at his disposal. He can move people and resources wherever he needs them to fulfill his good purposes.” When we pray, he allows us to be part of this. 

What amazing “coincidences” have you seen in response to prayer? I’d love to hear your stories. Leave a comment below and share the encouragement. 

And if the Lord brings her to mind, would you pray for my friend, Nell? She's flying out on Wednesday. Many thanks.

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  1. Hi Lori! I am coming over from Sharing His Beauty.

    I love these 'God Stories'! It shows so well how the Lord is moving in life, every life! And what an amazing woman you have written about! She feels so called to keep helping the Lord. I hope I'll be like that too.

    Nice to see you today,

  2. Eleven years ago, the day after my ob/gyn confirmed I was pregnant, I was in one of the local emergency rooms due to bleeding. I didn't know if I was losing the baby or what. So I prayed. Hard. When I was done, I had the sweetest feeling of peace that I have ever known. Today, my 10 year old daughter just came into the room and let me know that our dogs found a frog outside. :O)

    I enjoyed your post and will keep your friend (and you and your husband) in my prayers.

  3. I believe God arranges things for his delight and he rejoices when we praise him.
    I am near you at Beauty in His Grip

  4. I love prayer! It is my lifeline. When He puts people on my heart, I just know it's not me thinking of them, He knows I'll intercede. And then when I get an email or message from them asking for prayer I get so excited that I get to be a part of what God's doing because my heart is already linking. I'll pray for Nelle for a safe trip and easy transition in her new ministry.

  5. A really good reminder of how God works! These are great stories to hear.
    I found you through Titus 2 Linkup.

  6. Hi Lori, I'm visiting from Women Helping Women. What a great post! And so true - I've seen those coincidences (wink wink) as well. We serve an amazing God, don't we?
    Have a great week!

  7. Love this!! I love God's coincidences! We are overseas again right now in the Baltic country of Latvia...we lived here for a year working with a missionary and started a house church. We are back for their General Conference. One quick story of a "coincidence", one of many! We took many prayer walks here and my hubby walked around the same apt. building day after day feeling drawn to this building to intercede, but not knowing why. Months later at a house church gathering, we were working on a slide presentation for our website for the States and one of our new "kids" saw a picture we were including and said "hey, that's my apartment!" The Sweetheart was shocked! He said, "That's where you live?!" She wanted to know how and why he had a picture of it in the presentation and he told her. She broke down and cried, none of us knew it was her building that we were praying over every day and she was searching for God. She found Him when He led her to us one day on our street evangelism! Coincidence?! ♥

  8. Thank you for your post! We also had a recent answer to prayer in our family. My daughter spent four weeks in South Africa this past summer helping at Dayspring Children's Village. At the same time, my mom was declining rapidly from cancer. We prayed that Elisabeth would be able to connect with her grandma after the missions trip. God graciously allowed that to happen on August 6. Mom went to be with the Lord on the 11th. Very special memories...

  9. Hi Lori, I am delighted by these stories of how amazing and faithful God is, thank you so much for sharing. Have a blessed day. Tara.