Joan Clayton: Religion Columnist
I can’t help but notice that a crisis brings prayer regardless of the catastrophe, and it happens in public places. I heard no complaints about praying in public when 9/11 happened. The pain was too deep.
I think prayer is vital to us any time. In the tumultuous times of adversity, prayer and trusting are especially important. Mankind cannot save itself. Man is only a mortal being, but with God, “all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26).
I am thankful for those who pray for others. In the midst of an illness or an emergency, many can’t pray for themselves. God’s wisdom and strength are available if we only pray. May we remember, “The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (James 5:16 NIV).
I know someone who was sitting in a doctor’s office 20 years ago. The receptionist answered the phone and began to cry uncontrollably. Her mother had just been taken to the hospital with a very serious condition. The doctor’s patient asked if she could take the hurting young lady to another room and pray for her mother. The doctor gave permission, and after prayers, the receptionist was comforted.
Recently the same doctor’s patient met the beautiful lady and her mother (in her 80s) in a restaurant. A lot of hugging and tears occurred. After the good-bye hugs, the mother said, “God answers prayer.”
I read a story about an American pilot in the Vietnam War. His mission was to dive low to strafe the enemy. The closeness brought him so near he could see their camouflage. Instantly he had a vision of his mother and grandmother down on their knees praying for him.
Our middle son had an experience that I believe saved his life. A business meeting in another town lasted into the night, and Lance wanted to get home. On the way he approached a two-lane bridge, and out of nowhere a cow stood in front of his pickup.
He didn’t have time to think and certainly no time to stop or go around.
“Mom, someone took control of the wheel and whirled around that cow,” he said.
We thanked the Lord for his mercy. We pray, not just for family, but anyone in need. I like to “shoot” prayers at people. I wonder if they know that because sometimes they look at me and smile.
Praying for someone else is an act of obedience and compassion. 1 Samuel 12:23 says, “As for me, far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by failing to pray for you. And I will teach you the way that is good and right” (NIV).
Every day I need support and prayers. I cannot make it on my own. I need prayers A.S.A.P., “As Soon As Possible.” A.S.A.P. also has another meaning for me: “Always Say A Prayer.”
An anonymous writer has said, “It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.”
Prayer helps us to see the light, renews our faith and gives hope to the future. It keeps stability in an unstable world. Prayer releases burdens and gives peace to the soul. “He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him” (Psalm 91:15 NIV).
Throughout the Bible, I have found many “prayer warriors.” Through prayer, Nehemiah built the Jerusalem wall, a seemingly impossible task. Samuel kept praying for the people, despite their shortcomings. Hezekiah saved a nation through prayer. The prayer of Jabez in 1 Chronicles 4:9 acknowledges God as central in our lives and that he alone is Lord over every facet of our being.
Prayer and trust in God makes me happy!