Take a moment on this National Day of Prayer to prepare for storms of nature and storms in the heart.
Are you prepared for a storm? As the coolness of winter fades (it was at least five days this year), we now have to make sure that we are prepared for the Florida stormy season. The unexpected rain showers may only last a few minutes but if you are caught out in them, you’d think you were standing under Niagara Falls.
I was painfully (or was it soakingly) reminded of this the other week while doing my normal site visits with the numerous first responder agencies I cover. By the time I got back to my Chevrolet Tahoe, my clothes were carrying so much water I could have taken care of the drought in Colorado. Still, I think now of umbrellas, tarps, flashlights and batteries, canned goods and hand crank can openers, propane, bottles of water (both frozen and unfrozen), battery-operated radios (in case the cell phone towers get blown over), the National Weather service handbook on “How to Survive a Hurricane” and, lastly, the lighter and candle. I’d build a tornado bunker if it would not become an underground swimming pool on the first day. Now I am ready for whatever the elements throw at me… or am I?
The momentary tempests of nature can never compare to the inner storms of our heart and lives. These storms can rage for days, weeks, months and sadly, even years.
I guess the real question is, “Are you ready for these storms”? They can start today.
Thursday, May 2, is set aside annually as the National Day of Prayer. It is an invitation for everyone to take a moment and to ask an incredible God for His words of wisdom through the confusing times, His hand of strength through the tough times, and His grace through the growing times. It seems I have more of the last one then I do the others.
Prayer is not about the number of words you use, the posture you take, nor the place you are. It is about a recognition of who God is and a realization that “I can’t but He can!” (see Genesis 18:4, Jeremiah 32:27). Prayer becomes supercharged when others join with you to voice their petitions and praise.
Think of it this way. Energy is what I exert when I do something alone. With my strength, I can move a boulder — OK, maybe a big rock — with a hand truck. Yet synergy is the combination of others joining with me to move more than just a rock, but an entire mountain. The great preacher and evangelist, Charles Finney said, “Nothing tends more to cement the hearts of Christians than praying together. Never do they love one another so well as when they witness the outpouring of each other’s hearts in prayer.” Storms in our life do not seem so scary when we are facing them with others. Like a burden shared is half a burden, a storm shared is half the fear.
My question to you is still the same. Are you prepared for a storm, especially the ones in your heart? If you are not sure, join us today at noon at City Hall as we pray for our city, our community, and our country. Seek out the multitude of churches meeting together this evening to pray for God’s hand to hold us in the grip of His amazing grace. Find a fellowship of faith that will help you weather the storms of life by standing beside you through the gales of grief and pain.
Prayer is powerful when we pray. Prayer is unstoppable when we pray with others. The late Dr. Billy Graham, an incredible man of God who weathered many a stormy day, once said “to get nations back on their feet, we must first get down on our knees.” It is a great place to start.
Dr. Daniel Middlebrooks is the Senior Chaplain of First Call at Sydney Baptist Church.