SIMPLE TRUTH: A huge answer to prayer

Published 10:56 am Monday, June 3, 2013

By Charles Christmas

I wish to testify in this article to an important answer to prayer in a very desperate time for Louise and me.

Many of my readers who knew my wife can relate to, and have actually profited from, this answer to prayer.

First, I must relate that last Sunday, my pastor preached an excellent Bible message, as he always does, titled “The Prayer of Jabez,” found in I Chronicles 4:10. As Jabez cried out to God in prayer, he asked God for four things: First, he asked God to bless him in order that he might be a blessing to others and serve others. Second, he asked God to give him more opportunities in order that he might use those opportunities as a trust from God. Third, he asked God to keep his hand upon him in order that he might face and use the larger opportunities in God’s strength rather than in human weaknesses. Fourth, he asked God to keep him from anything that would bring grief to God, to others or to himself. The Bible says, “And God granted him that which he requested.” As I listened to my pastor’s meaningful and helpful sermon, I remembered God’s grace, power and leadership in answering our prayer 12 years ago.

With that backdrop, I return to “a huge answer to prayer” for Louise and me. The time was 2001. Being the outgoing, servant-hearted, people-loving person she was; being in the house, without a ministry through which to serve others, the four walls were closing in on her. The need was desperate. During this valley, she read the little best-seller book titled “The Prayer of Jabez.”

She very thoughtfully wrote me a private, personal letter, dated July 25, 2001, and left it for me on my desk. It is spread out before me now as I write. I will never, ever, knowingly part with it. I share with you now the closing paragraph of the letter:

“I seem to be grasping at straws for help, but I pray that ‘The Prayer of Jabez’ (as I understand it) will be a help to me. Please join me in this prayer; that it will help me. As I understand it, I’ll be praying: 1. Please bless me Lord! 2. Please give me ministries that will glorify You. 3. Please give me the Power of the Holy Spirit so I can minister to others. 4. Please direct my ways away from all that is not of you, Lord.”

I joined her in sincere prayer and continued to seek the Lord in searching for a ministry for her. Finally, I thought of the volunteers at Shelby Baptist Hospital and a chaplain friend of mine, who, at that time, related to the hospital’s volunteer organization. He directed me to the essential information for inquiring and making application.

With such information in the hands of my wife, she lost zero time in knocking on this door of possibility. The bottom line is that God was in the process of giving us the huge blessing: a ministry for her in which she could serve others through the help of the Holy Spirit with enlarging joy, scope and effectiveness. God transformed her ministry from a light, somewhat hidden in her house, into one on “a lamp stand” to reflect the light of Jesus on many of the hospital staff, fellow volunteers, patients and with family members as they came and went. For eight years, four days a week and through more than ten thousand hours, she basked in the joy of answered prayer.

It was a huge answer to a prayer, a prayer much like the prayer of Jabez.

—Charles Christmas is a religion columnist for The Clanton Advertiser. His column appears each Thursday.