And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us. And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of Him.
1 John 5:14-15 (ESV)
The expression “on a wing and a prayer” refers to doing something difficult or dangerous while relying on divine help for success. During World War II, when the phrase first became part of the English language, it had a literal application. It referred to Allied airmen flying back to their base in damaged planes, hoping and praying that they’d make it.
On February 26, 1943, a B-17 “Flying Fortress” bomber piloted by Hugh G. Ashcraft, Jr. of Charlotte, North Carolina was limping back from a bombing mission in Germany to an American base in England. The plane had been riddled by flak and was damaged severely, with a hole four feet square in the rudder, the nose shattered and the number three engine spewing oil and flames.
As they approached the shores of Britain, Ashcraft told his men over the radio: “Those who want to, please pray.” Miraculously, Ashcraft got the plane to its home base and landed it safely, generating news in the United States about the pilot and crew that “prayed” their plane back.
Because of his unflinching determination, cool-headed bravery, and his suggestion to pray, the incident made Ashcraft a local celebrity. After the war, God blessed Him and he became the first president of the Harris Teeter chain of supermarkets, which was first established in North Carolina and grew to have 243 stores in seven states.
Jesus taught us to pray—Ask, Seek, Knock Prayers: ASK for divine assistance; SEEK the right course of action; KNOCK with firm determination; and leave the results in God’s hands.
The original plan for financing the building of the new Phoenix Seminary campus failed after the process stalled in obtaining a loan. The problem was the building was already in process and from there began the seminary’s journey of “coming in on a wing and a prayer.” The will of God and the determination of a handful of believers prevailed and the campus exists today. To God be the glory!
Are you praying Ask, Seek, Knock prayers? Are you depending with unflinching determination? Now leave the results in God’s hands.