A gentle whisper from the LORD...

"Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper." 1 Kings 19:11-12

Sunday, September 30, 2012


“He is always wrestling in payer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.”
Colossians 4:12b (NIV)

I am sitting at my dining room table on a Sunday evening…attempting to wrap my mind around the phrase “wrestling in prayer”.  From a small yet very significant mention of Epaphras, we learn of his faithful servanthood to Christ Jesus.  We also read of his current condition at the time of the description “wrestling in prayer”…in prison.  Go with me back to the first century and try to imagine…

How rare it must have been to be able to put into a script your own thoughts and blessings and greetings to a people of distant residence in the first century…especially in prison.  Paul began his letter, “This letter is written by Paul who was chosen by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus…”  I imagine the quickening of Epaphras’ heart as he heard the words, “This letter is written to God’s holy people in the city of Colosse…”  Colosse!  Oh, to feel home again.  For a moment, the prison walls tear down and Epaphras is back home.  Where would he go first?  Perhaps the church or maybe his childhood buddy’s home.  Just the thought of the memories must have grown a smile across his face.  Or maybe the rush of hot tears instantly stung his eyes and he found himself quickly turning away to hide the emotion.  Regardless, the feeling of home enveloped every part of his being until, instantly, he was back in the world of reality inside the prison walls, hearing his name.

“Epaphras.  Epaphras!  Do you want to add anything to the letter?” Paul tenderly asks as he notices Epaphras returning. 

He responds almost in a scattered brain state, “Uh…sure.  Give them my greetings and make sure they know I am praying for them.”

With that warm smile of Paul, whose heart has softened these past few years, he tweaks Epaphras’ request a bit for he knows the deep and sincere truth.  He doesn’t just pray for them; he wrestles in prayer for them.  His prayers go so deep that, at times, he seems distracted and distant.  But Paul knows him well enough by now to know he is praying earnestly, tirelessly laboring with deep concern for his brothers and sisters back home.  And Paul knows the depth of each act of interceding for it goes much deeper than the physical requests.  His prayers circle around their spiritual well being.  And so Paul continues…

“Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings.  He is always wrestling in payer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.  I vouch for him that he is working hard for you…”

What a beautiful example of how we are to pray for our brothers and sisters.  We must labor in our prayers in all sincerity and deeply prayer for the heart.  So, I am bringing this meeting with my computer at the dining room table to an end.  But before I close, I must ask, how can I pray for you?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Rock

“Simon, are you asleep? Couldn’t you watch with me even one hour?  Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give into temptation.  For the Spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”
Mark 14:37-38

In the deepest hours of the night, Jesus surrounded himself with his beloved followers, one of which was Peter, the Rock.  Trouble and distress flooded his soul.  In the midst of great danger and trouble lurking in the moments ahead, prayer was the solitary and essential option.  In his plea to God to allow this appalling hour to pass, Jesus called to his closest friends to sustain him in prayer.  Yet, in the midst of chaos and horror, tribulation and evil, Peter, the Rock, slumbered.
“Simon, are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch with me even one hour?”
I’ve often pondered why Jesus called him Simon, as opposed to his new name, Peter, the Rock.  I wonder if, at this moment, Peter was not living up to his name and, therefore, Jesus reverted to his old name.  Yet, the next few words haunt me and cause me to speculate about my own life.
“Keep watch and pray, so that you will not give in to temptation.”
Wow.  Jesus spoke these words to Peter, the Rock, moments before his infamous denial experience.  Yet, another thought invades my mind…I wonder if Peter, the Rock, had been alert and in prayer, would he have denied his Savior in the midst of complete chaos and confusion…or would he had stood firm in his commitment to Jesus?  Just a thought….definitely something in which to ponder.
And then, another nudge from the Holy Spirit…
“For the spirit is willing, but the body is weak.”
How many times have I crawled into my cozy bed at night, with wonderful and great intentions of waking before the dawn to pray, only to sleep away the minutes, all the while hitting snooze over and over again?  With every passing minute and every screaming snooze alert, my time with Jesus dwindles.  Time designated for prayer, a necessity to face the day of temptation, fades as quickly as the stars with the rising sun. 
So, my heart hears.  In order to be a rock, I must be awake…and alert.  Prayer is indispensable, even when my body feels feeble and weary.  Morning…noon…night…I must keep watch for the enemy is ready to shatter the rocks to pieces. 
“The Lord is my rock, my fortress, and my savior;
my God is my rock, in whom I find protection.
He is my shield, the power that saves me,
and my place of safety.”
Psalm 18:2

“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.  Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil.  He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.  Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith.”
1 Peter 5:7-9

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Pray For All People

"Pray for all people.  Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them."
1 Timothy 2:1

Through the tears of dread and fear, God spoke: Pray.

As I attempted to fall asleep that May night of 2010, thankfulness of the family of God invaded my every thought.  Oh, how God had blessed me.  So many were praying and sending us off to a new land in a quest to follow God's plan.  My entire life had been comfy and cozy, surrounded by familiarity and all that seemed right.  In a matter of days, all I had ever known would become a memory and my new world would become uncomfortable and unfamiliar, surrounded by strangers and unknown places. 

But God continued to speak: Pray.

So many had poured into our lives filling our hearts as a sponge.  But now, our hearts overflowed and it was time to share those heavenly blessings with others.  The time had come to give back. God brought me to the place of conviction through 1 Timothy 2:1..."Pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them."

Through the next two years, God spoke: Pray.

Opportunities arose.  Needs became apparent.  Thanksgivings needed to be expressed.  The list began to grow...pray for her, pray for him, pray on this date...at this time.  And on a Sunday in July, it clicked.  As I listened to the word of God spoken, surrounded by the family of God, instruction came from the pulpit: "All those people you're praying for...double it!"  Once again, conviction tugged and pulled and yanked at my heart as I heard the familiar words of 1 Timothy: ..."Pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them."

God pressed on my heart: Pray.

A vision.  A dream.  A desire filled my heart.  The time has come to allow my prayers to ripple through my world.  However, not just my own world; but hopes that prayers would ripple through the endless waters of people in need or sick or adopting, those grieving or ministering or feeling weak.  Perhaps the lonely, poor or those needing to express joy.

God is urging us all: PRAY.

Please join me!  Listen to that loud whisper of the Holy Spirit and allow your prayers to ripple through your world.  Maybe we'll see results.  Maybe we won't...this side of heaven.  But it is time...for all of us...to double our prayers. 

God desires us to PRAY!!

If you would like to join the "Ripples" team, please contact me at bagraybeal@gmail.com