Today’s Text of Encouragement:
“The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but My kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of My peace be removed.”
Isaiah 54: 10
King James Version
Today’s Study Text:
“Be constant in prayer.”
Romans 12: 12
“”Why I Believe In Prayer” Part 1
“Prayer is the most important thing in my life. If I should neglect prayer for a single day, I should lose a great deal of the fire of faith.”
What place does prayer hold in my life?
If I did not pray, what effect would this have in my life?
“The one concern of the devil is to keep the saints from praying. He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work, prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, he mocks at our wisdom, but he trembles when we pray.”
“We pray because we were made for prayer, and God draws us out by breathing Himself in.”
P. T. Forsyth
Before we take up our continuing study in the book of I Kings, on the life of Elisha and the women who were blessed by the miracles God, through Elisha, performed on their behalf, I want to spend the next five days with a special series that is very close to my heart.
Six years ago, in December, 2006, I began the ministry of Transformation Garden, which I might add, started because of the encouragement I received from family, friends and individuals from all around the world whom I did not even know, but who had read my book, When A Woman Meets Jesus.
After receiving note after note telling me that it would be helpful if I would write a daily devotional and post it on the internet, I began to pray each day that if this was something God wanted me to do, He would be the “One” to show me how such a task could be accomplished.
Well, let me tell you, within days, all kinds of wonderful things began to fall into place. One of the most interesting, however, was the fact that the very first person who responded to the Transformation Garden website was someone who asked for prayer. This should have alerted me to the critical importance the “ministry of prayer” would have here in Transformation Garden.
As time went by, I was contacted by Crosswalk.com, one of the largest Christian websites in the world, and they asked me if I would be willing to provide my daily devotionals to them at no cost and they would then post them under “Women” devotionals each day. They also asked if I would give them a brief description about what the devotionals at Transformation Garden would be about.
Since we were studying the lives of all the women in the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, and because there were no other devotionals on Crosswalk.com which followed this format, in the narrative I wrote about Transformation Garden, I chose to highlight the fact that we were studying about women in the Bible.
You can imagine my surprise, when I was told that information had been posted about Transformation Garden on Crosswalk.com and the description of what our site was about said this: “A prayer circle for your special prayer needs, with Dorothy Valcárcel.”
First of all, I didn’t mention my own name in the description I had sent and second, I did not call Transformation Garden a “prayer circle.” However, there were two important things that happened to me when I read what had been written about the Garden. First, was that seeing my name associated with a “prayer circle” touched a strong cord in my heart and it made me realize that I must be a person who would put prayer as a top-priority in my own life. And second, since Transformation Garden was so closely tied to “prayer” in this devotional description, I wanted to make certain that everything we did in the “Garden” gave the gift and the power of prayer the rightful place it should have within all of our lives.
While we have tried, within the parameters of having a volunteer staff and doing all the work of Transformation Garden in the evening, early morning or weekend hours, after having regular jobs, to keep up with the growing requests for prayer, it has been a challenge at times. However, it is a growing challenge that has helped me understand, more every day, that the proper place of prayer in my life is the premiere place!
What has reinforced this belief in my own heart even more is the fact that as we have studied about women of the Bible, as well as the lives of the men with whom they interacted, it was and is, the element of prayer – persevering, constant and dedicated prayer – that turned their lives upside down and all around.
Whether it was Hannah, praying for her son, Samuel, for years or it was Mary, Jesus’ mother, praying for heaven’s child whom she found she was carrying inside her, prayer has been a conduit between heaven and earth which opens a line of communication directly to our Father’s throne. In one of my favorite texts in all of the Bible, we are exhorted in Hebrews 4: 16 (K.J.V.), “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” I love the way Pastor Charles Spurgeon expands on these words found in Hebrews: “If it is a throne, it should be approached with enlarged expectation…when we pray, we are standing in the palace, on the glittering floor of the great King’s own reception room. In prayer, we stand where angels bow with veiled faces…do not bring before God stinted petitions and narrow desires, but remember, as high as the heavens are above the earth, so high are His ways above your ways and His thoughts above your thoughts…with our God before us in all His glory, sitting on the throne of grace, will our hearts dare to say we mistrust Him? Shall we imagine either that He cannot – or will not –- keep His promise?”
It is with the promise of coming to our Father’s throne of grace that I invite you in 2013 to join me in a consecrated endeavor to put prayer in its proper place in each of our lives.
During the coming months we will be studying about Elisha and the Shunamite mother. And if this isn’t one of the most powerful “prayer” stories in the Bible, I don’t know what is! And there’s also a special series God has laid on my heart which I just “happened” to find as I studied God’s Word this year. Now, you know, I don’t really believe I just “happened” on this passage in Scripture. Just the opposite. I needed this story, which I call “The God of Dothan” as much as anyone for it has encouraged me in unbelievable ways.
These few examples are only the “tip of the iceberg” as to how the power, persistence, and passion for prayer is going to infuse all of our lives in Transformation Garden in 2013 during our daily study of God’s word.
The most important reason I believe in prayer is that in my own life, I have repeatedly found prayer to be the greatest thing I can do for God and for those who are dear to me. While prayer may not be the only thing I can do for others, it is the first and foremost thing I can do. But I must take time…and make time…and see that prayer is my top priority, too! It’s not something we just talk about or go to conferences to learn about or even read a devotional about. It’s something we choose to do – everyday!
I love the words by John Wesley who noted, “I have so much to do that I just spend several hours in prayer before I am able to do it.”
Already, I find 2013 is flying by. There’s more on my plate than ever before! But prayer is going to take the first and best place for me – for I know I can’t do without my daily time with my Father.
“I got up early one morning
And rushed right into the day;
I had so much to accomplish
That I didn’t have time to pray.
Problems just tumbled about me,
And heavier came each task;
‘Why doesn’t God help me?” I wondered.
He answered, ‘You didn’t ask.’
I wanted to see joy and beauty
But the day toiled on gray and bleak
I wondered why God didn’t show me
He said, ‘But you didn’t seek,’
I tried to come into God’s presence;
I used all my keys in the lock.
God gently and lovingly chided,
‘My child, you didn’t knock.’
I woke up early this morning,
And paused before entering the day;
I had so much to accomplish
That I had to take time to pray”
Sweet Hour of Prayer
“Sweet hour of prayer, sweet hour of prayer;
That calls me from a world of care,
And bids me, at my Father’s throne,
Make all my wants and wishes known!
In seasons of distress and grief,
My soul has often found relief,
And oft escaped the tempters snare,
By thy return, sweet hour of prayer.
Sweet hour of prayer! Sweet hour of prayer!
Thy wings shall my petition bear
To Him whose truth and faithfulness
Engage the waiting soul to bless.
And since He bids me seek His face,
Believe His word, and trust His grace,
I’ll cast on Him my every care,
And wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer.”
William W. Walford
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
P.S. Just to let you know, Transformation Garden is now on FACEBOOK. Please come and see us and share the garden with your friends. The Daily Devotional is posted everyday, Monday through Friday on Facebook, too.
My book, When A Woman Meets Jesus, is available wherever books are sold and on the internet at www.amazon.com, and www.Christianbook.com, or by calling toll-free, 1-800-Christian. You may also call Transformation Garden at 480-281-1508.
For more from Dorothy, please visit transformationgarden.com.