Meanderings of a Minister


What Are You Standing on When You Pray?
October 16, 2017, 1:06 pm
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I recently attended our denomination’s state convention.  While there, I took a seminar on prayer.  In the seminar, the speaker asked the question, “What are you standing on when you pray?”  I was intrigued by this question.  I was even more intrigued by the fact that he asked the question while standing on top of a chair in the middle of the room.  The speaker told a story about growing up in an abusive family and about being sexually abused by an older foster brother for years.  He finally reached the end of his ability to deal with the abuse and cried out to God to get him out of the situation.  He promised God what he would become a Christian and live for God his whole life if God would just get him out of the torture and pain.  Through a series of events, he was sent to live with his grandparents, who raised him to love Jesus.

The day that he arrived at his grandparents to live, he decided that he needed to make good on his promise to God.  He knelt and gave his life to Jesus right at the threshold of his grandparents’ house.  Having made that decision, he began to study his Bible, pray and try to learn all he could about this new life he had chosen.

One day, he realized God really did answer prayer.  He had prayed to be delivered and he was delivered.  He had prayed to be saved and he was saved.  The next prayer he prayed, he literally went to the same spot to pray and wrote his previous prayer on a piece of paper and stood on the prayer while asking God for a friend.  He added that, if God wanted to, He could make that friend be a girl.

Shortly after praying that prayer, he was driving home one day and came upon a young man who had skidded off the road and needed help digging his truck out of the snow.  He helped the young man and the young man invited him to go home with him to warm up.  The young man had an ulterior motive.  The young man was also from an abusive family and if his father found out that he had run the truck off the road, he was afraid of the beatings he would endure.  He figured that, if he had a guest with him, the father might not abuse him for fear of being found out.

As they walked into the living room of the young man’s family home, our speaker laid eyes on the most beautiful girl he had ever seen.  She is his wife today and they have been married for many, many years.

The point the man was trying to make was that it took the faith that the first prayer had generated to make him believe the second prayer would be answered.  The faith that was generated by the second prayer had emboldened him to pray the third prayer and believe it to both be the will of God and that it would be done according to the will of God.

The speaker used that example to challenge his audience, of which I was a part, with the question, “What are you standing on when you pray?”  For many of us, we pray about things we are not really sure God will answer or how.  If we are really unsure, we may even call someone and ask them to pray for us because we think that God will listen to their prayers, or our prayers, more than He will listen to my prayers.  When we pray and see God move in response to our prayers, it gives us the confidence to pray more and believe that God will move.  Now, this does not mean simply pray for whatever you desire and God is somehow obligated to deliver like a pizza delivery boy.  Far from it!  But when we pray and get to know God and listen to and get know His voice and understand His will is always contained in His Word and is always to bring Him glory among the nations, we get in tune with His desires and get to see Him move.

When have you prayed in the past and seen God answer?  Use that experience as the foundation of your future prayers.  Stand on those prayers and humble yourself before God, but pray with confidence that you know your Savior’s voice and are following His will, then you can know that you want what He wants and He will do it.  Then stand on that prayer, and that prayer, and that prayer.  Before you know it, you will be higher than the story that you thought was so big it could never be fixed.  And don’t forget it is not just prayer that God answers by the prayers of a righteous man (or woman, boy, or girl).  (James 5:16)

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Light Is Needed Most When It Is Darkest
February 6, 2015, 11:55 am
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light

The other day, as I walked out of my front door just south of Liberal, I looked up and was stopped in my tracks momentarily.  As I looked to the north, where Liberal should have been, there was nothing.  No lights.  No traffic.  Nothing.  It was dark out and it was foggy.  This combination synergized to obfuscate the normal photoluminescence of the conglomeration of domestic abodes known as Liberal.  In other words, like my previous sentence, they confused me by being too dense to see through.

As I looked at this sight, I was struck with a thought.  What would it be like if Liberal actually wasn’t there?  What if some storm, bomb, earthquake or some other terrible event happened in the night and I awoke to find that the entire town was simply gone.  It had been destroyed.  How many people would go into an eternity without a relationship with Jesus Christ?  How many people would have to stand before the judgment seat of God and hear, “Depart from Me, I never knew you?”  How many would be doomed forever to spend eternity in Hell, tormented with no possible relief or deliverance?

As I pondered these things, I started to feel disturbed.  I wondered how God must feel about all of the people that would miss out on Heaven.  I wondered how I should feel, if I am a slave of God and am supposed to be about His business.  I wondered how many loved ones would mourn, knowing there was no such thing as a second chance.  I wondered how many people would try to feel better by saying, “Maybe, at the last second, they cried out to God.”  Don’t get me wrong.  If they had done that, they would be saved, just like the thief on the cross next to Jesus, but how likely is that?  And certainly how likely if they have never even heard they need to cry out to God for anything?

All of this was swirling in my head and heart as I began to drive in.  And then I was hit again by another thought.  As I was driving, I had gotten far enough away from the park in which I live to have passed outside of the effective range of the lights there, and had not gotten far enough to begin to see the lights of Liberal, which I trusted were still on.  As I looked around, I realized that I was in the middle of nowhere with no light, no point of reference, no direction, but still moving.  I wondered if that is not how many people, and many churches are living their lives.  Have we forgotten that people need light for a reference?  Even though they say that all truth is relative, don’t we all really want something as a reference to even know if we are on the road?

In that quiet moment, I renewed my commitment to sharing Jesus with as many people as I can.  Not so that I can get another notch in my belt to impress people with my evangelistic skills, but because there are people that might die today without Christ.

Will you join me in praying for your city?  Will you pray for your church to be a light on your corner or block?  Will you let your light shine so that others will at least have a reference point?  Will you share Jesus with them?  Will you help them out of the dark and into the light?  I hope so, because driving in the dark, on a rarely deserted road, with no lights is pretty scary, but I only had a few miles until I could see light again.  What must it be like to do that for eternity?