November 16, 2023
- By Ed Powell
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"And it shall come to pass, that before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear."
God in His infinite grace has provided the means whereby we can communicate with Him. It is through the avenue of prayer. In Hebrews 4:16 the writer says, "Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." It is inconceivable to me to realize that God has provided this means whereby we can come into His very presence anytime, anywhere, and under any circumstances. But this is God! Prayer reaches the heart of God, which initiates the power of God. Little does the world know what can be done through childlike faith when it is exercised in believing prayer to Almighty God.
The following account was written by a medical missionary in a remote region of South Africa. "I had worked hard one night to help a mother in the labor ward who was struggling for her life as she gave birth to her child. In spite of all we could do, she died, leaving us with a tiny premature baby and a two-year-old daughter. We would have difficulty keeping the baby alive, as we had no incubator or electricity. We also had no special feeding facilities.
"Although we lived on the equator, nights were often chilly with treacherous drafts. One student midwife went for the box we had for such babies and the cotton wool that the baby would be wrapped in. Another went to stoke up the fire and fill a hot water bottle. She came back shortly in distress to tell me, that in filling the bottle, it had burst (rubber perishes easily in tropical climates). 'And it was our last hot water bottle!' she exclaimed.
"All right," I said, 'Put the baby as near the fire as you safely can and sleep between the baby and the door to keep it free from drafts. Your job is to keep the baby warm.'
"The following noon, I went to have prayers with any of the orphanage children who chose to gather with me. I gave them various suggestions of things to pray about and told them about the tiny baby. I explained the problem about keeping the baby warm enough, mentioning the hot water bottle, and that the baby could so easily die if it got chills. I also mentioned the two-year-old sister crying because her mother had died.
"During prayer time, one 10-year-old girl, Ruth, prayed with the usual blunt conciseness of our African children. 'Please, God, send us a hot water bottle today. It'll be no good tomorrow, God, as the baby will be dead, so please send it this afternoon.' While I gasped inwardly at the audacity of the prayer, she added, 'And while You are about it, would You please send a doll for her little sister so she'll know You really love her?'
"I was on the spot. I just did not believe that God could do this. Yes, I know God can do everything, the Bible says so. But there are limits, aren't there? The only way God could answer this particular prayer would be by sending me a parcel from the homeland. I had been in Africa almost four years at that time, and I had never, ever, received a parcel from home. Anyway, if anyone did send me a parcel, who would put in a hot water bottle? I lived on the equator!
"Halfway through the afternoon, while I was teaching in the nurses' training school, a message was sent that there was a car at my front door. By the time I reached home, the car was gone, but there, on the veranda, was a large 22-pound parcel. I felt tears streaming down my face. I could not open the parcel alone, so I sent for the orphanage children. Together they pulled off the string, carefully undoing each knot. We folded the paper, taking care not to tear it unduly. Excitement was mounting. Some forty pair of eyes were focused on the large cardboard box.
"From the top, I lifted out brightly colored knitted jerseys. Eyes sparkled as I gave them out. There were bandages for the leprosy patients, and the children looked a little bored. Then came a box of mixed raisins and mixing flour that could make a batch of buns. Then I put my hand in again, and felt the...could it really be? I grasped it and pulled it out. Yes, a brand new rubber hot water bottle. I cried.
I had not asked God to send it; I had not truly believed that He could. Ruth was in the front row of the children. She rushed forward, crying out, 'If God has sent us the bottle, He must have sent the doll too!' Rummaging down to the bottom of the box, she pulled out the small, beautifully dressed doll. Her eyes shone! She had never doubted! Looking up at me, she said, 'Can I go over with you and give this doll to that little girl, so she will know that Jesus really loves her?' 'Of course,' I replied.
"That parcel had been on the way for five whole months! Packed up by my former Sunday school class, whose leader had heard and obeyed God's prompting to send a hot water bottle, even to the equator. And one of the girls had put in the doll for an African child, five months before, in answer to the believing prayer of a ten-year-old to bring it that afternoon!"
"Before they call, I will answer" (Isaiah 65:24).
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths" (Proverbs 3: 3-6).
© 2007 by Ed Powell. Used by permission.
This page was reprinted by permission from: http://www.litmin.org/dare.php?date=2023-11-16
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