The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them. Psalm 34:7 (NIV)
Sometimes my work is in areas that have security risks, not necessarily overtly dangerous, but places where I must exercise prudence. Such was the case recently when we went to facilitate a conference in another country known for its violence. When we do this, we always request prayers from our faithful supporters.
After a tiring day of travel we were escorted by our hosts through the encroaching twilight to the place we’d be staying for the next several days. Imagine my surprise and gratitude when I saw at least fifteen vehicles parked just in front of the building, all marked with signs indicating they were federal police. Surely, this had to be divine protection for us.
The next day during a break in sessions, I walked to the front entrance and looked out to see banks of uniformed, armed officers facing the building. Now, that was a prayer that was answered even beyond my thinking or imagination. Not only did we have one angel, but, apparently, there was a multitude of angels guarding us waking and sleeping.
WHAT A COINCIDENCE.
Thank you, Lord, for the wonderful ways in which you answer our prayers and for your protection. All honor be yours. Amen.
…ye have not, because ye ask not. James 4:2b (KJV)
In good faith, we ordered imprinted notebooks for an upcoming workshop. For some days we didn’t hear from the vendor. We tried calling and e-mailing. And we prayed. Still no word. The materials would be no good to us after the meetings, so we intensified our prayers and our attempts to get a response.
We’re told that as Christians we shouldn’t be anxious about anything and should pray about everything; that we should pray and not give up (we needed those notebooks); and that he would supply our needs. There were many scripture verses about prayer that we could have leaned on. We figured that if God is concerned about hairs and birds and flowers and grass, he could surely deliver those notebooks in time.
The last possible day they could be delivered before the event, they were brought to my office. Coincidence? Perhaps. But I like Sir William Temple’s reasoning when he says, “When I pray, coincidences happen, and when I don’t, they don’t.” And so we prayed again—in thanksgiving.
Father, you know our needs, our frailties, and our little faith. Thank you that, in spite of all this, you still shower us with mercy and loving kindness. YES. Amen.
She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. Luke 10:39 (NIV)
Our Bible study has been examining the practice of Christian meditation, a discipline that’s long been neglected. We’ve tried to dissect and analyze all the aspects that make this such an important practice for contemporary Christians.
I think Marietta got it right. She thinks of it as a special date with Jesus, a time to set aside each day to be with him when they can talk, pour out their hearts, listen to each other, and laugh and cry together. She looks forward each day to being with Jesus.
Putting it that way, it’s not at all complicated or esoteric. Meditation, the joy of intentionally taking time to be with our heavenly Lord Jesus.
Father, in our desire to draw closer to you, help us to put aside the things that distract us so that we can truly listen. In Jesus our Lord. Amen.