North Santa Rosa

Living With Purpose

    Almost every day someone will email, call me, or tell me face-to-face some story of how faith and prayer have helped them through difficult times. A former Army chaplain tells the following story that happened to him: An Army wife was convinced that her problem had but one solution. Her husband had developed an excessive drinking problem and for the past several years had been an alcoholic. He would often pass out on the living room floor where the wife or his teenage children would find him; sometimes completely naked. In final desperation the wife decided to take the kids and leave. Friends persuaded her to at least go talk to the chaplain first.     “Whatever you say, Chaplain, don’t tell me to stay with him,” she said, “I just can’t do it.”

    “I don’t really care whether you stay with him or not,” he said, “I just want you to thank God that your husband is like he is.” He carefully explained what the Bible had to say about thanking God for all things and that if she tried it, God would be able to solve her problem in the best way.

    She thought it sounded ridiculous, but finally agreed to kneel while he prayed that God would release in her enough faith to believe that He is the God of love and power who holds the universe in His hand. When he finished praying, she said, “I do believe”.

     Two weeks later he called her. “I feel absolutely marvelous,” she said. “My husband is a different man. He hasn’t had a drink in two weeks.”

    “That’s wonderful,” he said. “I’d like to talk to him.”

    “What do you mean?” she said in a surprised voice.

    “I think it would be good if I talked to your husband about the power that’s working in your lives.”

    “Didn’t you tell him already?” she asked.

    “No, I haven’t met him yet.”

    “Chaplain, this is a miracle!” she cried out. “The day I was in your office he came home from work and for the first time in seven years he didn’t go to the refrigerator for a beer. Instead he went into the living room and talked to the kids. I was sure you had talked to him after I left your office.”

    In this circumstance, a prayer of praise had released God’s power to work in another person’s life. The wife sobbed over the phone while talking to him, then said, “Praise God, Chaplain. Now, I know God works out every detail of our lives.”

     I’ve reflected on this story many times and draw hope that the God that worked in this family can work in every single family that struggles with some form of addiction or behavioral problem. It does take a willingness to be made well and some have trouble with that. But the person who truly wants to be changed can be changed if they would only allow God to take over the situation and engineer the right moves for recovery.

     The catalyst to any change is prayer; faithful, honest-to-God prayers. The Bible says, “Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing constantly in prayer” (Romans 12:12).

Every Christian should practice what I call “The Four Ever-Ready Prayers”.

     The first one is Everyday Prayers. It’s easy to get caught up in the rush of our busy times. Some forget or simply neglect to pray as they should. You must discipline yourself to pray and keep in a spirit of prayer throughout the day.

     The second is Everywhere Prayers. Some feel they can only pray effectively in church. God is omnipresent. In other words, He’s everywhere. We should talk to God wherever we are—at home, at school, at work, a play. If practiced, praying will increase your joy and your confidence. 1 Timothy 2:8 says, “People need to pray everywhere; free from anger and controversy.”

     The third prayer is Everything Prayers. Philippians 4:6 tells us, “Pray about everything. Tell God what you need and thank Him for all He has done”. Small or great; difficult or easy—we must take everything to God in prayer and give it to Him. God has the best plan for you.

     Finally, there’s the Everybody Prayers. Scripture says, “Pray for each other” (James 5:16).

Don’t fail to pray for others; even those for whom you hold resentment or dislike. And don’t pray “at them” but pray “for them”. You can’t pray sincerely for someone and hold resentments against them at the same time. The “get even”, negative prayers are not answered by God.

    Be filled with God’s love today, so that your prayers can change things. Pray for the wealthy, the wanting, the healthy, the hurting, the saint, and the sinner (1 John 4:11). Pray believing and see what marvelous things come about. And after this, thank God for His blessings and look for opportunities to tell others the great and mighty things God has done for you and the ones you have been praying for.

• This bi-weekly column is written by Matthew Dobson. He’s a health educator for the State of Florida, U.S. Army Reserve Chaplain, and the Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in the New York Community. His “Living With Purpose” Book series can be found and purchased on www. Amazon.com. You can contact him by email: rmdobson@liberty.edu.

Posted by on Dec 15 2019. Filed under Church News, Churches, Living With Purpose, Local, Top News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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