Life is hard for the villagers who live on a hilly terrain in the Yunnan Province of China. Their main source of food is corn and rice. But in May 2012 a severe drought hit the region and the crops withered. Everyone was worried, and many superstitious practices were carried out as the people attempted to end the drought. When nothing worked, people started blaming the five Christians in the village for offending the spirits of the ancestors.
These five believers gathered to pray. Before long, the sky darkened and thunder was heard. A heavy downpour started and lasted the whole afternoon and night. The crops were saved! While most of the villagers did not believe God sent the rain, others did and desired to find out more about Him and Jesus. In 1 Kings 17 and 18 we read of a severe drought in Israel. But in this case, we are told, it was a result of God’s judgment on His people (17:1).
They had begun to worship Baal, the god of the Canaanites, believing that this deity could send the rain for their crops. Then God, through His prophet Elijah, showed that He is the one true God who determines when rain falls. Our all- powerful God desires to hear our prayers and answer our pleas. And though we do not always understand His timing or His purposes, God always responds with His best for our lives. —Poh Fang Chia
Through prayer, we draw on the power of the infinite God.
Published on Thursday, July 14, 2022 @ 6:25 PM CDT
An article in The Washington Post told about a 15-year-old girl who sent and received 6,473 cell phone text messages in a single month. She says about her constant communication with friends, “I would die without it.” And she is not alone. Researchers say that 90 percent of people worldwide text at least once per day, and more than 350 billion text messages are sent each month.
To me, this ongoing digital conversation offers a remarkable illustration of what prayer could and should be like for every follower of Christ. Paul seemed to be constantly in an attitude of prayer for others: “We have not stopped praying for you” (Col. 1:9). “Be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere” (Ephesians 6:18). “Never stop praying” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). But how can we possibly do that?
Frank Laubach, a missionary in the Philippines, described his habit of “shooting” prayers at people as he encountered them during the course of each day. In a sense, he was “texting” God on their behalf, staying in constant communication with the Father. Laubach believed that prayer is the mightiest force in the world, and said: “My part is to live in this hour in continuous inner conversation with God and in perfect responsiveness to His will.” Never stop praying. Perhaps what Paul urged us to do can be done. —David McCasland
Prayer should become as natural as breathing.
Published on Wednesday, July 13, 2022 @ 7:42 PM CDT
During a concert, singer-songwriter David Wilcox responded to a question from the audience about how he composes songs. He said there are three aspects to his process: a quiet room, an empty page, and the question, “Is there something I should know?” It struck me as a wonderful approach for followers of Jesus as we seek the Lord’s plan for our lives each day. Throughout Jesus’s public ministry, He took time to be alone in prayer.
After feeding 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish, He sent His disciples to cross the Sea of Galilee by boat while He dismissed the crowd (Matt. 14:22). “After sending them home, [Jesus] went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone” (v. 23). If the Lord Jesus saw the need to be alone with His Father, how much more we need a daily time of solitude to pour out our hearts to God, ponder His Word, and prepare to follow His directions.
A quiet room—anywhere we can focus on the Lord without distractions. An empty page—a receptive mind, a blank sheet of paper, a willingness to listen. Is there something I should know? “Lord, speak to me by Your Spirit, Your written Word, and the assurance of Your direction.” From that quiet hillside, Jesus descended into a violent storm, knowing exactly what His Father wanted Him to do (vv. 24–27). —David McCasland
Taking time to be with God is the best place to find strength to press on.
Published on Tuesday, July 12, 2022 @ 5:25 PM CDT
The room was splashed with an assortment of enchanting colors as women in beautiful saris scurried around, completing the final touches for a fundraising event. Upon hearing about the financial situation of a Christian school for autistic children, these women from India not only heard the need, but they also took it to heart and responded.
Nehemiah did not allow his comfortable position in life as cupbearer and confidant to the most powerful man at that time to nullify his concerns for his countrymen. He talked to people who had just come from Jerusalem to find out the condition of the city and its citizens (Nehemiah 1:2). He learned that “those who returned to the province of Judah . . . are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem has been torn down, and the gates have been destroyed by fire” (v. 3). Nehemiah’s heart broke. He mourned, fasted, and prayed, asking God to do something about
the terrible conditions (v. 4). God enabled Nehemiah to return to Jerusalem to lead the rebuilding effort (2:1–8).
Nehemiah accomplished great things for his people because he asked great things of a great God and relied on Him. May God open our eyes to the needs of those around us, and may He help us to become passionate and creative problem solvers who bless others. —Poh Fang Chia
Those who walk with God run to help with the needs of others.
Published on Monday, July 11, 2022 @ 9:24 PM CDT
On the day before a major surgery, I shared with my friend that I was really scared about the procedure. “What part scares you?” she inquired. “I’m just so afraid that I won’t wake up from the anesthesia,” I replied. Immediately, Anne prayed: “Father, you know all about Cindy’s fear. Please calm her heart and fill her with Your peace. And, Lord, please wake her up after surgery.”
I think God likes that kind of specificity when we talk to Him. When Bartimaeus, the blind beggar, called out to Jesus for help, Jesus said, “What do you want me to do for you?” And the blind man said, “My Rabbi . . . I want to see!” Jesus said, “Go, for your faith has healed you” (Mark 10:51–52). We don’t need to beat around the bush with God. While there may be a time to pray poetically as David did, there are also times to say bluntly, “God, I’m so sorry for what I just said,” or to say simply, “Jesus, I love You because . . . .”
Being specific with God can even be a sign of faith because we are acknowledging that we know we’re not talking to a far-off Being but to a real Person who loves us intimately. God is not impressed by a flurry of fanciful words. He is listening for what our heart is saying. —Cindy Hess Kasper
The heart of prayer is prayer from the heart.
Published on Sunday, July 10, 2022 @ 9:41 PM CDT