Florida has been hit by record setting hurricanes this year and it is no surprise many were left homeless or even worse, hopeless.
Elizabeth and I have been greatly affected by this season’s storms; Hurricane Charley forced us to evacuate and leave our belongings behind, not knowing if we would have a home to return to.
We were lucky Charley veered south of us merely sprinkling a half inch of rain over the greater Tampa Bay area. However, many were not so fortunate near the Punta Gorda and Sarasota region.
As each storm moved toward us, we found ourselves more concerned for the welfare of others than our own having been recently blessed with a beautiful healthy baby, and being surrounded with more than we could ever need.
We kept asking ourselves “what can we do to help?” After many discussions, we realize there were an extensive list of things we could do including donations, volunteering and of course, praying.
Some of us are in a position to lend a hand financially by donating money to those in need. One of the many organizations our Ministry recommends is the Salvation Army (www.salvationarmy.com).
While donating money will certainly help, praying has a way of accomplishing things no amount of money can. Jesus said, “14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him. ” (1 John 5:14-15). Jesus was speaking about answered prayer. We can ask and receive answers only if our asking is directed to God in faith and according to His will.
Adversly James, the brother of Jesus wrote about unanswered prayer, to Christian Jews living outside the land of Palestine. “1 What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? 2 You want something but don’t get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” (James 4:1-3)
With this in mind let us consider prayer for what it should be according to the word: “8 I want men everywhere to lift up holy hands in prayer, without anger or disputing.” (1 Timothy 2:8)
Prayer should not only be used to ask for things but also to praise God for all He’s done for us and those around us. Jesus thought believers to pray in this manner:
“And when thou prayest, thou shall not be as the hypocrites are: For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him. After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.” (Matthew 6:5-13)
With Mount St. Helens on the verge of erupting, more tropical storms, tornadoes and earth quakes brewing, prayer is really the only universal way to help ourselves and one another.
Keep loving those around you and praying for people who struggle with this world, making for a stronger sense of community and bringing God’s light where clouds once hovered.