When I say I grew up in the woods, I don't mean I grew up in a rural town with lots of trees. No, I literally grew up in the woods, half a mile down a tractor trail to an acre of my Grandpa's land that was cleared out by a hurricane. (Just ask Karletta and Kayla G.) You either had to drive a truck or be really skilled at driving a car in order to get to our house. So you understand why we had mandatory evacuations during every major storm and hurricane since there are about 1000 trees that had the ability to come crashing down on our home. But, oddly enough, that never happened.
One night we were coming home during a Rainstorm with a capital R, one that renders our dirt road nearly impossible to take, my mom prayed on the way home that God would just allow us to get home without ending up in the cornfield. When we reached our dirt road, it was as if it wasn't even raining. This is when I started realizing that my mother had a superpower...
One of my Mother's favorite prayers is Psalm 91. She told me she prayed this over our home growing up, even walking around the house before evacuating for hurricanes, claiming God's promise that no evil shall befall us, neither shall any plague come near our dwelling (paraphrased).* When we returned after Hurricane Ivan, we didn't recognize our dirt road entrance for the debris. As my Dad and I looked for a way to our home through the woods on our 4-wheeler as our family waited on the main road, we were all wondering what we would find. If the woods were unrecognizable, what would our home look like? What we found was an answer to prayer...
The trees around our home looked like a game of Pick Up Sticks. There were distinct paths through the woods where trees had been twisted off by tornadoes. But our home stood untouched. I could go on about many of our friends who lived in "safer" areas and sustained massive physical damage to their home and property, but you all probably grasp the miraculousness of this event.
Besides losing power during rainstorms and never having decent internet service, we never had any damage to our home. This phenomenon goes beyond having good home insurance, which is a reactive service. This was a proactive measure called Prayer... My mother prayed over our home.
This is a mosaic of a blog, but the Holy Spirit led me to this story and these verses with urgency today. Many of you may remember times during our Bible studies where I shared some really random stories or thoughts and often they were unplanned. These ended up being the times where someone would say, Wow, God spoke to me, He knew I needed that when I just knew I needed something. I learned to listen to those urgent bits of randomness. This is one of those times. This topic of powerful prayer may just be for me. But maybe it is for you too. So many times God meets us where we are even when we aren't looking for Him.
Is He meeting you right now?
Sometimes God goes ahead of us and prepares us for the future. Either way, you don't have to fear. You can have joy in knowing that your prayers are heard and that they are powerful. God is in control. When we are covered by His blood and clothed in His Word, just like my family and my home, God will protect you. He will keep you. He will strengthen you.
Look at these examples of powerful prayer from the Bible.
Esther and her people prayed for the salvation of the Hebrew people in the face death. Because of the strength Esther found through personal prayer and the intercession of her friend's prayer on her behalf, the Jews now celebrate Purim every year! God even gave us the alternate ending to this story - if Esther didn't rise up, someone else would save her nation, but at the cost of many lives including her own. God's Will will be done, but our faithfulness has an impact on the process.**
Without my Mother claiming the promises of God and displaying faith, God may have allowed an alternate ending in order to lead us closer to him at the cost of our home.
Abraham prayed that God would spare the people of Sodom and Gomorrah, even though they were ungodly and they mistreated His children. Instead of telling Abraham to back off because he didn't understand, God allowed Abraham to pray on their behalf, not once, but six times! In the end, God's Will was done and those cities were destroyed because they were purely evil. But God allowed Abraham to get to know His character in the process. Abe could have watched passively and thought, How can God be so cruel as to let people die? Instead, he interceded on behalf of the people and realized, there was no good that could come from them, their free will was set on destruction of Godliness.^ Because God is a loving Father and protective of His children, He did away with what was harmful. We see sorrow and wickedness in the world from afar and wonder, How can God allow this? But remember, God hates it as much as we do, and though it may look different than what you think it should be, He is handling it. Spend some time praying for others and asking God for understanding, and just like Abraham, your faith will be strengthened.
Without the miracle of our intact home because of prayer, we could have looked at the destruction surrounding us and felt despair, not realizing the work God allowed destruction of what was not needed and sustained what was needed. Don't let our human emotion, even precious things like empathy, cause us to judge God and blame him for evilness that Satan brings into this world. Rather, look at the beauty that God brings despite the ugliness.
Then there is Jacob who wrestled an Angel of God (Jesus before He was flesh) all night in order to obtain a blessing from God, not knowing that God had already planned for him to be the father of the 12 tribes of Israel! As a child reading this you think, Man, I bet he got a spanking for being mean to an angel. But, this actually represents the idea of praying without ceasing and being persistent in your search for God. He gained spiritual maturity, learned perseverance in prayer, and experienced the strength of God with a limp as a daily reminder of this.^^ Who knows, without this he may credit himself and his wives with the conception of God's chosen nation instead of God Himself.
Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. - Hebrews 4:16
Esther approached the Throne of Grace before approaching the throne of Xerxes.
Abraham approached the Throne of Grace with intercession or others, only to find peace with God's perfect justice.
Jacob approached the Throne of Grace and found an answer to his prayer above and beyond what he could imagine.
Don't discount prayer. Clothe yourself in His Word. Claim His promises. Intercede for others. Know that God's Will is perfect even when we don't understand. Rejoice in the future knowing that you are in the Father's hands!
Love you girls,
* Psalm 91... Read it1 Memorize it! Claim it! Look up the book Psalm 91 by Peggy Joyce Ruth.
** ... Think not with thyself that thou shalt escape in the king's house, more than all the Jews. For if thou holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed... Then Esther bade them return to Mordecai this answer, Go, gather all the Jews that are present in Shushan and fast ye for me... I also with my maidens will fast likewise, and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish. - Esther 4.14-16
^ And the Lord said, Because the cry of Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grievous, I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the cry of it, which is to come unto me, and if not, I will know... And Abraham drew near and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?... And he said, Oh let no the Lord be angry, and I will speak yet but this once: peradventure ten shall be found there. And He said, I will not destroy it for ten's sake. - Genesis 18.20,23,32
^^ And Jacob was left alone and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of they day. And when He saw that He prevailed not against him, He touched the hollow of this thigh and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with Him. And He said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let ghee go, except thou bless me... And He blessed him there. - Genesis 32. 24-26, 29
Other verses on prayer
If ye abide in Me and My Words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. - Jesus, John 15.7
Therefore I say unto you, what things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe ye receive them, and ye shall have them. - Jesus, Mark 11.24
And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you. Seek, and ye shall find. Knock, and it shall be opened unto you. - Jesus, Luke 11.9
Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities. For we know not what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groaning which cannot be uttered. - Romans 8.26
Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. - James 5.16