By Henrylito D. Tacio
A couple of months ago, I received an e-mail from a friend. Actually, it was a forwarded message written by Father James Reuter, S.J. “The only hope for the Philippines,” says the title of the piece.
Actually, Father Reuter is referring to prayer. He explains: “It's time to gather God’s people on its knees to pray for the economic recovery and moral reformation of our nation.”
But the question is: Is prayer really the answer to what is happening to our country today? Some actual events from history proved that it may be the solution we are looking for. Consider the following:
- England's ascendancy to world power was preceded by the Reformation, a spiritual revival fuelled by intense prayers.
- The early American settlers built the foundation that would make it the most powerful nation today - a strong faith in God and a disciplined prayer life.
- Korea has emerged as a strong nation when other economies around it are faltering. Thanks to Reverend Paul Yongi Cho, who led the revival and prayer movement which swept across the land.
Father Reuter urges: “If we humble ourselves and pray as a people, God will heal our land. By God's grace, we may yet see a better future for our children. God bless and God save our country!”
God promises: “If My people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray, and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from Heaven, and will forgive their sins, and will heal their land” (II Chronicles 7:14).
Does God answers our prayers? Yes, He does! Read this poem aloud: “The Lord always hears our prayers, / But He does not always say, ‘Yes!’ / Sometimes He says, ‘Wait’ / Sometimes He says, ‘No’ / For He has something better for us.
“God’s delays are not denials, / He has heard your prayer; / He knows all about your trials, / Knows your every care.
“God’s delays are not denials, / Help is on the way, / He is watching o’er life’s dials, / Bringing forth that day.
“God’s delays are not denials, / You will find Him true, / Working through the darkest trials, / What is best for you.”
As one Christian pastor explains: “When God does not immediately respond to the cries of His children, it is because He wants to accomplish some gracious purpose in their lives. If you are waiting for an answer of some heartfelt petition, don’t become impatient. Commit the matter into the hands of your loving heavenly Father and trust His wisdom.”
Pray without ceasing, the Bible tells us. Oftentimes, we pray for ourselves. But is there a time when you felt the urge to pray for someone and then just put it on a list and said, “I'll pray for him later”? Or has anyone ever called you and said, “I need you to pray for me, I have this need”?
Now, if you answer affirmatively, please read the story below and may it change the way that you may think about prayer and also the way you pray. “You will be blessed by this,” said my friend who sent it to me via e-mail.
An returning American missionary told this true story while visiting his home church in Michigan: “While serving at a small field hospital in Africa, every two weeks I traveled by bicycle through the jungle to a nearby city for supplies. This was a journey of two days and required camping overnight at the halfway point.
“On one of these journeys, I arrived in the city where I planned to collect money from a bank, purchase medicine and supplies, and then begin my two-day journey back to the field hospital. Upon arrival in the city, I observed two men fighting, one of whom had been seriously injured. I treated him for his injuries and at the same time talked to him about the Lord. Then I traveled two days, camping overnight, and arrived home without incident.
”Two weeks later, I repeated my journey. Upon arriving in the city, I was approached by the young man I had treated. He told me that he had known I carried money and medicines.
“He told me, ‘Some friends and I followed you into the jungle, knowing you would camp overnight. We planned to kill you and take your money and drugs.
But just as we were about to move into your camp, we saw that you were surrounded by 26 armed guards.
“At this I laughed and said that I was certainly all alone in that jungle campsite. The young man pressed the point, however, and said, 'No sir, I was not the only person to see the guards. My five friends also saw them, and we all counted them. It was because of those guards that we were afraid and left you alone.'”
At this point in the sermon, one of the men in the congregation jumped to his feet and interrupted the missionary and asked if he could tell him the exact day this happened. The missionary told the congregation the date.
The man who interrupted told him this story: “On the night of your incident in Africa, it was morning here and I was preparing to go play golf. I was about to putt when I felt the urge to pray for you. In fact, the urging of the Lord was so strong, I called men in this church to meet with me here in the sanctuary to pray for you. Would all of those men who met with me on that day stand up?”
The men who had met together to pray that day stood up. The missionary wasn't concerned with who they were, he was too busy counting how many men he saw. Yes, you’re right - there were 26!
What does Psalm 34:7 says? “The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth them.”
Today, and every day thereafter, don’t forget to pray. Martin Luther
urges: “I have so much to do (today) that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.”