Tag: Prayer

Only one will not do…How many have you?


Today, February 9th, is the birthday of notable historical figures such as the 9th President of the United States, William Henry Harrison, and the 18th century philosopher and political agitator – not to mention inveterate infidel – Thomas Paine. Contemporary figures such as Senator Jim Webb of Virginia, the diminutive actor Joe Pesci, and the actress Mia Farrow were also born on this date. More pertinent to my situation: 38 years ago today I was born in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, USA. This birth was somewhat surprising because I arrived 3 months early (I’ve always been partial to dramatic entrances!) The local doctors looked at this scrawny baby who weighed a mere 2 pounds 7 ounces and opined that I only had a 30% chance of surviving. Happily, there is a God who rules over all and determines the times appointed for men. Thus, in His sovereign mercy He spared my life.
A Mother’s Faith & A Faithful God
Although premature and suffering from cerebral palsy – which would go undiagnosed until I was nearly two – I enjoyed many blessings. My chief advantage was to be born into a household where the parents were devout Christians who had a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and knew the value of intercessory prayer. Anyone who has met my parents knows that my father is louder, larger, and much more forceful than my mother. Nonetheless, in the early moments of my life it was my faithful Christian mother who offered a “Hannah prayer” to the Lord. Those unfamiliar with this great woman of faith, Hannah, can consult 1 Samuel chapters 1 and 2. Hannah prayed that the Lord would give her a son so that she could give him back to the Almighty for His service. Similarly, my mother said, “Lord if you spare the boy’s life, I’ll give him back to You for Your work”. I did not learn of this prayer for many years. It was only after I began preaching and teaching from the Word of God that she told me of her “bargain” with the Lord. In His grace, He honored that prayer and I have now been preaching His Word for over 20 years, spending nearly 12 of those in full time service for His glory.

The Terror of Unanswered Prayer

“When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord: They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices. For the turning away of the simple shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them. But whoso hearkeneth unto me shall dwell safely, and shall be quiet from fear of evil.” Prov. 1:27-33i
Alluding to the words of Revelation 6:16, the classic hymn, “The Love of God” says: “When years of time shall pass away/and earthly thrones and kingdoms fall/when men who here refuse to pray/ on rocks and hills and mountains call/God’s love so sure shall still endure all measureless and strong…”ii This haunting stanza reminds one that a fearful day of judgment will one day overtake this planet. Disbelieving creatures, now heedless of the danger to their souls, will then cry out for mercy, but it will be too late. By contrast, believers will never come into condemnation and possess the settled assurance that God hears and answers their prayers. One must weigh the difference between the saved and the lost in regard to prayer.
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