Oh, the Power of Prayer!

by J. Grant Swank, Jr.

I was visiting an elderly parishioner in the hospital the other morning. She had fallen, broken her nose, and then had quite a time getting the bleeding to stop. She had been rushed from one hospital to another until they could come upon the treatment to stop the bleeding.

As I looked at her, I could not help but note the swollen face and black-and-blue bruises all around her nose, eyes, and cheeks.

"When I was going through this ordeal," she said, "I just kept singing to myself the old hymn, Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me.' The more I kept singing that melody over and over, the more strength I got from the Lord. He was so near to me. I have kept on singing it to myself here in this hospital room."

I marveled at this saint of the church as she related to me once more the dynamo of prayer. What release comes when we actually understand that God is already with us when we need Him. We do not need to search for a prayer key to unlock heaven's door. The door is always wide open. He is the God who does not slumber nor sleep.

"Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me." What a hymn to remind us that God is in charge, even when a spiritually fallen world tosses us to and fro with its calamities and woes. God is still there. He knows how to find us and comfort us.

It was truly different for me to look into such a bruised face to see the mouth upturned in a smile! It was the smile of happiness in the pain. That may be a contradiction to some; but to those who know it first-hand, it is an experience made possible because of prayer.

The week before that hospital visit, I preached in revival services in a country church. On that first Sunday morning, at the close of the sermon, a tall young man came to the front of the church and knelt down quietly to talk with the Lord alone. Afterwards, the man's sister came to me and shared his sad situation: "His wife left him several days ago. She walked off to live with another man, leaving him with the four children."

I was again reminded that when we meet people, we never know what burdens they are carrying. I noted that he and the children were present at every one of those special services. And if I had not known what he was going through, I would never have had an inkling of his inner pain. He was stalwart. He was faithful to his God. He was a man of determination to see through his responsibilities to God, the church, and his children.

How could he come upon such power? It was through his prayer life. When kneeling there at the church altar, he evidenced simplicity in talking with God. It was as a child himself that he sought out the wisdom from above.

When you come to prayer with your needs, keep your focus simple. It is by remaining as a child that you continue to explore God's kingdom within. Pray calmly. Pray courageously. Pray with confidence!

J. Grant Swank, Jr., pastors New Hope Church in Windham, Maine.

2011 Disciple 155x50 2011 AMG 155x50
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