the mysteries of prayer…

Do you remember what you were doing one year ago at this time? I remember that Joan and I were spending our fourth or fifth night in a motel room after our central air-conditioning gave up the ghost in the middle of the Heat Wave of 2010. What blessed relief when the new one was finally installed and the house began to cool down from the 90 degree inside temperatures we had been experiencing.

I also recall that it was just about this time one year ago that we had our ears glued to the news reports of the 33 miners trapped underground by the mine collapse in Chile. The mine collapsed on August 5, 2010 and it was not until August 17 that rescuers were able to bore a hole that finally reached into the air pocket 2,000 feet below the ground where they were huddled. I remember the global cry of joy when the people on the surface pulled up a note attached to the end of their probe that read, “We’re all good in the refuge, the 33.”

“The refuge.” Interesting choice of words… they could have called it “the air pocket” or “the chamber,“ or maybe if they were in a more pessimistic mood, “our tomb.” But the main story that was told again and again during the ordeal was the story of the non-stop prayers, both of the miners themselves and of the friends and family members on the surface. It raises an interesting question about the nature of prayer for all of us. Does prayer change God’s mind, or ours? In other words, is there a “critical mass” of prayer that must be achieved before God decides to intervene to supernaturally rescue miners trapped underground (or anOverland Parkhusband and wife without air conditioning)?

Or perhaps is it more accurate to say that placing our trust wholly in God during the crisis points in our life is the critical factor that helps us see hope where things might otherwise look hopeless? Might prayer be the crucial ingredient that helps us call a tomb a refuge? I will be the first to admit that there is a whole lot I don’t understand about prayer. One thing that I DO know is true – without knowing why – is that “more is better” in matters of prayer.

In the days and weeks and months ahead I want to challenge us to continue and deepen our prayer life as a congregation. As we put more of our attention on what GOD has in mind for this church and less on what WE have in mind, I predict we will be led into some awesome and fruitful places. True, we might have to dare to let go of some treasured artifacts from the past along the way, but God is so incredibly good and faithful and will ALWAYS provide beyond our wildest imagination.

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