There she was at the door, jumping up and down for joy, barking and wagging her tail, as if to say: “He’s back!” After a long and tiring day, I received the most wonderful welcome from our black Labrador retriever.
It made me feel good. I smiled and gave her the attention she wanted. After all, a dog is man’s best friend.
Quite a few years ago, our small family was traveling on a freighter from Europe to our new field of service in South America. Due to long delays in the loading of the ship’s cargo, we found ourselves setting sail in the dead of the Mediterranean winter, the same time of year as the apostle Paul was shipwrecked off the coast of Malta.1 We joked about that and casually prayed that our fate would not be the same as his.
“My beloved spoke and said to me, ‘Arise, my darling, my beautiful one, come with me.’”1
Martha was someone who learned a lesson on the importance of valuing above all things the peace and inspiration that Jesus gives. Once, when Jesus came to visit, she was so concerned with the duties of a hostess that she rushed and fussed, but in the hurry and flurry of her busy activities, she didn’t make time for Him.2 There’s a lesson here for all of us.
Do you sometimes forget to pray, or not know where to start or how to go about it when you do remember? It takes a while for prayer to become a habit, but it’s one that’s worth cultivating because it can solve so many problems, sometimes before they even happen. If your prayer times need a jump-start, these tips should help.
Prayer—secret, fervent, believing prayer—lies at the root of all personal godliness.
—William Carey (1761–1834), English missionary
Prayer should not be regarded as a duty which must be performed, but rather as a privilege to be enjoyed, a rare delight that is always revealing some new beauty.
—E.M. Bounds (1835–1913), American minister and author
My friend Michael has a favorite saying for when God does something inexplicable in answer to prayer: It’s not odd, it’s God.
For some months, Michael and a few others of us have been working on a major new endeavor. One of the first things Michael and another partner did was map out the entire project. The plan looked terrific on paper—so simple, so straightforward, so sure. We soon found out, however, that God had a somewhat different plan and timetable. And part of His plan seems to be to teach us to depend more on Him as our all-wise CEO.
“We haven’t done even half of what we had planned for this morning,” I mumbled as I stepped impatiently into the elevator that was to speed my husband Franz and me to an appointment on the 20th floor of a downtown high-rise. A few moments later, the elevator jolted to a halt and we were enveloped in darkness.
“Not again! Not now!” I groaned, glancing at my watch.
For years I nearly always closed my Meditation Moments radio show with the words “God is still on the throne, and prayer changes things!” Someone once wrote in and said, “I don’t find those words in the Bible.”
No, they’re not in the Bible, but they’re certainly scriptural and express an important truth.