We have all seen the old bumper sticker that reads: “In case of nuclear attack, the ban on praying in school will be immediately suspended.” How many of us seriously prayed in college, military service or other times in life? My prayers, few and far between, were quite puny ones to say the least.
However, my father, Rev. John B. Sparks, was a praying man; and I was not too proud to ask him to pray for me concerning certain needs. You see, I was on “shaky ground”, spiritually speaking. My prayers lacked fervor and power.
Prayer and a promotion
I recall a time in the Navy I took the test to be promoted. “Daddy, will you pray for me that I will make the list in the spring?” His face brightened and he replied, “I’ll be more than glad to, David.” It was a foregone conclusion that from that point forward my father would “bombard” heaven with prayer on behalf of my request.
When the “List” came out in the Navy Times, my name had not made the cut. It was disappointing and I chalked it up to, “Well, you can’t get every prayer answered, I guess.” A few weeks later there was an announcement that there was a “second increment” on certain job categories for petty officers. I was elated to discover that my name was on that supplement and I was sure that I owed Dad much of the credit for touching Heaven.
Prayer: The obstacle-mover
A chaplain told us in boot camp about a huge fleet of ships that were maneuvering in the Pacific many years earlier. A message arrived saying that the family of a destroyer sailor had been in terrible, fatal wreck and he was needed back home. The fleet admiral, realizing the anguish of one of his crew members, gave the order for that entire array of mighty ships to change course just enough to rendezvous with a certain carrier and start the man on his journey home. Our chaplain said, “Men, much like that admiral was able to do, when we pray, the good Lord is ready to move obstacles and change circumstances for us.”
A prayer-hearing God
We see all about us great problems. They often seem insurmountable, but let us remember that God is a prayer-hearing God. “O thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come.” Psalm 65:2 (KJV)
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him; for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6 (KJV)
It is God’s nature to hear and answer prayer.
Dr. David Sparks is pastor at Flat Rock Pentecostal Holiness Church.