Not One Night

The world is a broken bone, saturated with death and sadness too deep and terrible to name. Lord, we need you. “Prayers for all involved in tonight’s heartbreaking tragedy.” Not a night will pass where that won’t be applicable, where that won’t receive a bowed head and wet eye in response. Not a night will pass where there will be no voice crying out to their God begging for relief, for forgiveness, for something to hold on to. Not a night will pass where a child won’t wail for a mother who can’t help and a father who is no longer there. Not one night.
But there is hope. Morning is coming. The Son will rise as He said He would. Your heart, so shadowed and heavy with darkness, will at last feel the warmth that sends the demons howling to the depths.

“The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.” – Romans 13:12

We are promised not one night upon this earth. In a millisecond, what you imagined to be just another night becomes your closing. Eternity awaits, and this simple message of salvation is the one that should be upon our lips every waking moment. It is the only one that matters. With so little time, we have everything and nothing to lose when it comes to sharing God’s love. Take heart, for morning is coming.

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” – Romans 21:4

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That’s the Power of Prayer

“How many times a day do you pray?”

Oh, the awkwardness of that question. It’s like when the dentist asks if you’ve been flossing. You know the answer doesn’t give you a favorable report and makes you look bad. So you give the uncomfortable side grimace and shrug, hoping that if you avoid the truth and change the subject, the whole thing will eventually be forgotten and you can shove that icky feeling under a rug for the time being.

Sure, I pray. When I’m sitting around the dinner table with my 100% Christian family or in other socially obligated situations, I can bow my head and murmur a few “faith words” as well as anyone. But when I’m alone or with religiously ambiguous people, I give God the cold shoulder. I have yet to fully realize the power of prayer.

Because first of all, nothing happens without prayer. Trying to pull something off without prayer is like attempting to direct small children without talking: a whole lot of mess happens and productivity ceases to exist. It doesn’t work. We don’t live in the Old Testament when we had to speak through a priest. We have the amazing luxury of being able to talk to our Lord and Savior directly without any fanfare, yet we don’t take advantage of this gift.

“The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. Elijah was a man just like us. He prayed earnestly that it would not rain, and it did not rain on the land for three and a half years. Again he prayed, and the heavens gave rain, and the earth produced its crops.” – James 5:16b-18

And how many times do we simply thank God? Not necessarily when something good happens either. We should be praising God for His gifts no matter what, because we have the constant comfort of His love and mercy waiting for us.

“I will praise you, Lord my God, with all my heart;
    I will glorify your name forever.” – Psalm 86:12

If you are in want, ask. God hears everything and no matter how inconsequential or small it may seem, you can ask him for anything. Nothing is too big or too small for God. He knows you and He knows your wants, but He also wants to hear you, His dearly beloved child.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” – Matthew 7:7

And sometimes it feels like you have nothing to say, and that’s fine! Just start talking. Unlike humans, God will never tire of hearing you talk to Him. Speak to Him as you would your best friend and Father. You are His favorite creation, and whatever happens you may trust that His love will always be extended to you without fail and that your prayer will never fall on deaf ears.

“I call on you, my God, for you will answer me; turn your ear to me and hear my prayer.” – Psalm 17:6

Africa

About a month ago there was a possibility that I might be able to go to Africa in the summer of 2014 on a mission trip. Because of my age and the expense, I was asked to write a letter on why I should have such an opportunity. I believe that others may benefit from what I wrote then, so here it is said in a more articulate way.

I want to find out what I am supposed to do. Has God set me apart as a missionary or to stay at home? I do not know. I have prayed long about this and feel an urge to go and tell people I’ve never seen before of an entirely different culture about Jesus. I have read so much about missionaries and the amazing faith they have in God and I long to have an experience of my own.

If you are worried about how much I will be able to do as a minor, I assure you that I am not afraid of hard work. If energy and physical strength is what they require, I am willing to give it. It will also be a good experience for me. I live in a first world country and have never wanted for anything and I think it will be good for me to see that there are people living very tough lives. It will make me thankful for the small tasks I have at home and for the luxuries I take for granted.

The opportunity to serve others excites me. Even if God has not planned for me to be a missionary, I will serve the people of my own community to the best of my ability.

I am not without knowledge that there will be some things to get used to there in Africa, and that the amount of money going into this trip is so great is rubs against my practical side.

I will continue to pray and eagerly await whatever decision you may make.

The morning after writing the letter my mom told me I was allowed to go. I still pray fervently about the trip and all who may go on it. I thank God for the opportunities given to me, and I pray that anyone who has ever wanted to tell others outside of their race, culture, language, country, continent, whatever it may be, that they will find a way to go.