Tag Archives: Australia

How important is prayer?


We received a wonderful Skype video call yesterday from dear friends in Australia. They took us under their wing when we lived in a little cottage across the road from them in Burradoo, New South Wales decades ago.  Over the years and over nearly ten thousand miles our friendship has always grown closer. Each time we get together, we seem to pick up right where we left off, like when they hosted us at their lovely home in 2009 and when they visited us just last summer. How thankful we are they came when my health was still reasonably good! True friends like that are rare.


As they shared the testimonies they saw coming from our journey through cancer we asked them about their own testimonies. Colin shared  about a time decades ago when he traveled internationally for his company. His business called him to Vietnam, which at that time didn’t allow bringing bibles into the country. Of course he brought his and, often being forgetful, left it at the guest house where he was staying.  (Accidents happen, you know.) Anyway, twenty years after leaving the bible, the house host contacted him to say she found something he left but wasn’t going to give back to him. She not only read the bible but joined a bible study group and became a Christian. Twenty years is a long time to wait for the answer to prayer. But it’s worth it!


Then they recalled an incident just a month or so ago when he found his wife Carol on the floor with an extremely high heart rate. Once at the ER, the doctors were able to lower it, but not nearly low enough to be out of the danger zone. Colin said, “I think we need to pray about this.” In less than a minute from beginning his prayer, they heard tones from the machine indicating that her pulse was at normal rate. The nurse who was witness to this called the doctor to come into the room. The doctor came into the room at once and asked what had happened. Colin said he prayed over the situation and immediately she was healed. They asked what they should do if this ever happened again and the stunned doctor said, “I think you should pray!”


It remains a mystery why God answers some prayers instantly according to our exact request and why sometime he tarries for twenty years or more. And even why we sometime feel our prayers go seemingly unanswered. It’s a mystery to us because we see dimly but not to God who sees us with perfectly clear vision, who hears our cries and never ever leaves our side.


Our job isn’t to figure things out but to remain faithful, to keep hope and trust in the Lord. David asked himself: “Why art thou cast down, O my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God; for I shall yet praise him For the help of his countenance.” Psalm 42:5 ASV


Whatever ails or perplexes you, whatever sets you on edge and casts you into despair, you can bring your honest prayer to Almighty God and end with, “for I will yet praise you, my Lord, my God in whom I trust.”


Your prayer, when given with thanksgiving, may be the most powerful force on earth as it draws you closer to your creator and brings you unspeakable peace. It all begins with, “And yet…”


My sheep know my voice




My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. John 10:27


I remember many years ago, the State Fair offered free telephone calls to anywhere in the world. This was way before Skype, cell phones, and internet chat. So, I stepped in the booth and called a former co-teacher I used to work with in Australia. I hadn’t thought about the time zone difference nor that I hadn’t spoken to this person in the many years since I lived overseas. I just dialed their number and said, “Hi. How are you doing?” Once I said who I was, my friend was all excited to talk with me, but at first she didn’t recognize my voice. After all, it had been a very long time.


Does it seem like God is quiet sometimes, that you just can’t hear His voice? Maybe you feel He has forgotten and left you. Maybe you think God doesn’t speak to people anymore, that we’re just left on our own to figure life out. Or maybe, just maybe, we don’t hear God’s voice because we don’t listen for it. In fact, maybe like my call to my Aussie coworker, it’s been so long since you’ve had a conversation with Him that you don’t even recognize His voice any more.


We listen to so many things these days. There’s the radio, our favorite CDs, the iPod, the phone, the internet, the TV. There’s Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter to keep up with.  There’s our family and friends who want and need your attention. And your ministry efforts and favorite causes call to you. Then your work shouts, “Pay attention to me,” in a voice so loud as to drown out everything else. And underneath the favorite novels and magazines, maybe there is a bible. No wonder we have a hard time listening to God!


Being likened to sheep is not the highest compliment. Sheep wander and stray. They follow their own way and get into trouble. Typically, we think of sheep as rather helpless and dumb. But smart sheep know the voice of their shepherd. They tune out distractions and pay attention to the voice of the one who protects and provides for them.  They listen to Him and follow Him.


What kind of sheep are you going to be today? One who says, “I’ll have it MY way” or one who listens and follows the voice of the good shepherd? Be still, listen, and follow.