National Day of Prayer 2010

Remember Paul's exhortation in I Timothy 2:1-2:
"I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercessions and thanksgiving be made for everyone -- for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness."

Thursday, MAY 6, is our National Day of Prayer, when we envision an outpouring of God's Spirit across America. We pray not only for our personal concerns, but also for the needs of our nation, its leaders and all citizens. As in Hebrews 4:16, "Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need."

It is especially requested that we all pray at 12:00 noon -- wherever you are. I think of it as in Revelation 8:3,4: "And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel's hand."

Don't miss the blessing of being a part of these prayers. Make your prayers a part of this great cloud of worship ascending up to the presence of God. He doesn't look so much at the greatness, or difficulties, of our actions, but at the love with which we do them. Simplicities. Prayer is a lifting up of our heart; a look toward heaven; expressions of gratitude and love equally in sadness or in happiness. Prayer unites us with God.

Last year, on National Day of Prayer (which is always the first Thursday in May), our prayer team stood with our church Children's Group in the church parking lot. We watched them release 50 helium filled balloons of brightest colors of blue, green, yellow, orange, red and purple, into the air. It slowed the traffic on North Shepherd Drive as people saw the beautiful site of balloons rising higher and higher and further away in the distance. Did you ever wonder how high up they could go? The National Scientific Balloon Facility in Palestine, Texas provides the answer: "Those little latex balloons would have eventually reached a height of approximately 18,000 feet!"

Each balloon had a card attached. One side was the church address and a request for the finder to write and tell us where it was found; on the other, the children wrote a note to Jesus.
We only received ONE letter, in September. It was from Willard Baxley of Groves, Texas, near Port Arthur, about 100 miles away from Houston. He wrote:

Found your letter about a month ago and I apologize for waiting so long to write. You see my son and I bought several acres and I've been using my tractor and bush-hog to clear mostly yaupon bushes. The day B-4 I got your letter (by air mail!), I was running through these yaupon, saying, "cut 'em up, grind 'em down! What good are they?" when one whacked me on the ear really hard. I told my wife about it and said, "I guess God was trying to say He never made any useless bushes." Guess where I found a letter (yours) from an angel guided by an angel the very next day? On a yaupon branch! I had bush-hoged for 3 or 4 days around this yaupon thicket before I found it hanging near the top of this yaupon bush. Guess a yaupon branch doesn't rate up there w/the olive branch; but it'll always rate up there w/me. Who says God has no control of wind currents? Yours in Christ, Willard Baxley.

Last year, there was a story in the newspaper about a man, fishing alone in his boat, in the Pacific Ocean, somewhere between Los Angeles and Catalina Island (24 miles from L.A.). A sudden storm came up. He began securing his fishing equipment, when a big wave hit his boat. He lost his balance and went overboard. The boat kept traveling and went aground on Catalina Island. Meanwhile, the man became so exhausted, he was preparing for his death, when suddenly a balloon dropped in front of him! The man clung to it to rest awhile. Tourists on the resort island notified the Coast Guard about the empty boat, and the search began, ending with the rescue of the fisherman! Hallelujah! To God be the glory! I was wondering if this happened on National Day of Prayer when a group of church children in California released balloons!

There's something about praying and the searching experience that develops a bond between you and God that you can't get any other way. If you don't pray EVERY day, you are missing out on a lot of blessings. Also, it's important to read at least one chapter in the Bible EVERY day. Most of the time, I can't stop at one chapter. Just a few minutes ago, I was looking up the Scripture in I Timothy 2, and kept reading through chapter 4!

Sometimes, folks get discouraged and think God isn't listening to their prayers. Never have these thoughts! God has His best in mind for you. Trust that He is leading you well, even if you don't know where you're headed. There were long years between the time David was anointed king in the Bible, and when he actually became king. During that time, he was chased around the wilderness by a king who wanted to kill him! Joseph was sold into slavery, falsely accused of adultery, and spent years in prison. Paul chose to go to Jerusalem having been fully warned about what would happen to him there, but he chose to go anyway.

There is comfort in knowing someone is praying for you. I know someone who is praying for me every night. I believe that those prayers have kept me safe. Who knows how manyaccidents, or all kinds of things, have beendeterred because of those prayers?

Remember Aron Ralston, who, in May 2003, escaped being pinned under a boulder for six longdays in a Utah canyon by cutting off his forearm with his pocketknife? He said, in Guideposts Magazine, in 2005, "I may never fully understandthe spiritual aspects of what I experienced, but Iwill try. The source of the power I felt was the thoughts and prayers of many people, most ofwhom I will never know."

I love this saying: "God doesn't give uswhat we can handle; God helps us handle what we are given." And, "You can't change yesterday--butyou can ruin today by worrying about tomorrow."

Want to change your life? Begin by saying,"The Lord is my Shepherd." (per Max Lucado).

Trust God's plan for your life. Be alert to Hispresence. "Thank You, Lord that You are with me in this place and at ALL times. Amen."

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