If you live on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico, you know there are months where the threat of a hurricane is very real. But when the Gulf is quiet and calm and there are no current storms being tracked, life continues in its steady rhythm of graduations, weddings, family vacations, barbecues and other summertime activities.
When a storm develops, however, you may start paying attention, to see where it goes. And if the forecast brings it into the Gulf of Mexico, you might begin preparations, just in case. You probably keep an eye on each forecast, in anxious anticipation of which way it will go. And you may feel a surge of relief when its forecast takes it somewhere else. But you won’t let your guard down because forecasts have been known to be wrong and storms have sometimes taken an unexpected turn. And it might just head straight for you.
Such was the case in late August of 2005. That summer, we were busy with all the things I mentioned. But one thing I remember: I felt a an urgency to pray. Each Wednesday my husband and I joined together with two other couples and we prayed. I’m usually not one prone to premonitions and my intuitions aren’t always reliable. But I sensed something coming. I had no idea what; I thought maybe God was going to do something new with our little congregation. Beyond that, I couldn’t say.
If you are alive, you know life can bring affliction, hardship and tragedy. And if you’re a Christian living for the Lord and sharing the truth of His love with others, you know there’s the threat of an enemy wanting to bring you down. However, when things are quiet and calm and there’s nothing impending, life can take on that same steady rhythm.
But we must not assume there is no threat. We must not be complacent. We must always pay attention, stay prepared and keep an eye out for what may come, but not with anxious anticipation. Rather, with prayer.
“Cast all your anxiety on him (God) because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7 (NIV)
Sometimes we may feel a surge of relief when disaster misses our life. Be we can’t let our guard down.
“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 (NIV)
This summer I feel the same urgency to pray. I’m not sure I’m bold enough to say I sense something coming again and if I do, I have no idea what. I’d like to think God is going to do something new with my prayer ministry or my writing. Beyond that, I wouldn’t want to say.
What I will say, however, is we must always remember:
The Lord will fight for us against our enemy
“For the Lord your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.” Deuteronomy 20:4 (NIV)
He is our shelter in times of trouble
“For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock.” Psalm 27:5 (NIV)
He hears our cries
“I waited patiently for the Lord to help me, and he turned to me and heard my cry.” Psalm 40:1 (NLT)
He rescues us
“He reached down from heaven and rescued me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemies, from those who hated me and were too strong for me.” Psalm 18:16-17 (NLT)
If you, like me, sense an urgency to pray, be obedient and join in the battle cry: This day we fight! But we will not fight like the world fights (2 Corinthians 10:3-5) instead we will “Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.” Ephesians 6:18 (NLT)
There’s a book I’m reading right now, The Battle Plan for Prayer. I highly recommend it, whether you’re just starting to engage in prayer or you are a prayer veteran. The book was released as a precursor to and to be used in conjunction with the upcoming movie, The War Room, which releases this week, August 28th (quick plug – it’s from the same creators as Fireproof and Courageous and its about prayer).
My husband painted this picture recently, something the Lord impressed upon his heart.
We have a God who is with us in every trial, every tribulation, every struggle and every storm.
In Christ, we have the victory. He defeated the enemy. He broke every stronghold. He triumphed over death.
Grace & Peace