This month, our meditation has been excerpted from the book entitled, Bound to Be Free compiled by Jan Pit. In the following short quotation from the heart of Gerhard Hamm (from Russia. Mr. Hamm spent many years in prisons and labor camps in Northern Siberia), there is fodder for reflection and perhaps application:
I am so grateful to my parents for having taught us to pray. And above all, for having been praying people themselves.
We saw the value and the power of prayer in our parents. Father was shot and killed for it and mother deported to Siberia, where she died. We, their children, have never considered this a tragic loss, but a spiritual victory.
Their prayers were taken up to heaven by angels and put into golden censers (Revelation 8:3,4). And their prayers were heard. They had twenty children, ten of whom are dead now, and many of them died in Siberia. We, the remaining ten children, suffered much in Siberia, but God has been good and merciful to us. All ten have become servants of the Lord. In times of severe persecution, we saw how our parents found strength in the Lord, through prayer and faith. We want to follow in their footsteps and go on. Do our children see the power of prayer in us?
'Lord, teach us to pray.'
A moment of introspection: As intercessors praying for the members of our worldwide family who have been granted to suffer for their faith in Christ Jesus, may it be said of us that through our intercessory effort, God taught us to pray. ...that God taught us the value of prayer, the power of prayer, the responsiveness of prayer, the timing of prayer. Through our labor, we seek from God the spirit of prayer--that spirit that goads us, encourages us, enlivens us, guides us, empowers us, and enables our continued devotion to intercessory striving.
In the Name of the Father, the Holy Spirit and the Son, we have been taught to pray. A few years back, a commercial invaded the airwaves of television and the print media; short and to the point, it exhorted people to "Just do it." We who pray have reasons to do what we do. In previous devotionals, we read about the Bible's own exhortation to praying without ceasing--even when we're too tired or busy. The Bible talks about the factors which make prayers effective, which are indeed heard by our heavenly Father: prayers of a righteous man or woman, forgiveness in one's heart toward others, praying and praising when we are troubled, praying that falls within God's will, seeking the Holy Spirit and His aid in our prayers, praying with earnestness, and other examples. So God's Word does teach us to pray. It also teaches us how to pray--through many examples within the Word of God, both in the Old and New Testaments. In previous devotionals I've mentioned praying the Scriptures, and that is one good way to pray for the persecuted church; it helps us to know that our prayers are in line with God's Word, and keeps us reading and studying His Holy Scriptures to find out more about prayer and its helpfulness and usefulness in upholding God's people through intercession.
Let us echo the words of the apostle Luke, each day and week and month: "Lord, teach us to pray." May it be a way of life. May it be a holy habit. May it be a means for relationship with God. And may it be done with a willing and eager heart which knows the rewards of prayer. Through the Bible, we are taught to pray, told to pray, instructed in praying, and commissioned to our work. Do others "...see the power of prayer in us?" May it be so, for each of us--that we know the Scriptures and the power of God through prayer and through the testimony of the triumphant church.