Whether Real Storms Or Tempests In Our Lives, Key Is Developing 'Muscle' Of Faith
By Michael H. Brown
[adapted from The God of Miracles]
Can a storm really be prayed away? Would it not take millions of people praying?
The more the better. When many people pray, truly remarkable things can occur -- such as the fall of Communism. Or, yes, storms. Dr. Neil Frank, former head of the National Hurricane Center, and a Christian, told me he believed such had occurred in the 1960s with a major storm called Betsy, which acted inexplicably as a large group was praying.
Yes, a major event can be changed with prayer, even a hurricane. I have written of this before.
And if God so wills, if there is enough faith -- gargantuan faith -- a single person could do it. Let us recall that a major chastisement set to befall a city in Poland was prevented by the prayers of Saint Faustina Kowalska.
Jesus said that with faith we could move a mountain -- a mountain of earth or, one might presume, a mountain of water.
Did you know that this worked in a dramatic way, according to reports, during the Asian tsunami?
There was a missionary named Dayalan Sanders who operated an orphanage for 28 children in Navalady, Sri Lanka. When the wave hit, he heard shouts that "the sea is coming, the sea is coming," and made a mad dash to a lagoon where there was a small boat with an outboard motor.
The children followed him as a thirty-foot wall of water raced toward the beach. Somehow, the motor, which usually took four pulls to start, turned on right away.
Crammed with more than thirty people (among them Sandersí daughter), the boat launched into the lagoon at almost the precise moment that the wall of water overwhelmed the orphanage behind them -- flooding its single-story structures to their rafters.
"It was a thunderous roar, and black sea," he told a newsman. The missionary watched in amazement as the surging current smashed a garage. Vehicles were swept in all directions. As currents began to pour into the mouth of the estuary about two miles away -- threatening the boat with converging currents -- Sanders remembered a line from Isaiah: "When the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall raise up a standard against it." And with that he raised his hand in the direction of the oncoming water. "I command you in the Name of Jesus --stop!" he shouted.
The water, said a news account, then seemed to stall momentarily, according to Sanders, who said, "I thought at the time I was imagining things.Ē After a bit of rough ride, they escaped.
Remarkably, there was the same with a young American couple at a beach in southern Thailand. Clinging to a jungle gym under a thatched roof in a play area, the man shouted prayers amid the tsunamiís flooding.
The thatched roof lodged against the jungle gym, and they were sheltered as the last, biggest wave swept ten feet over their heads -- without touching them.
"We miraculously didn't get hit," said the man, Patrick Green. "It was a freaky thing that the tree protected us."
Those were prayers by single individuals, and they show us that our best prayers are those we give with our strength from top to bottom, or perhaps I should say vice versa: from our feet, right from the very bottom of our beings, to our brains.
Desperation tends to pull this out of us, but if we can develop the same way of potent supplication in the regular course of living, we'll see prayers answered phenomenally, our own individual prayers. We will move mole hills and mountains alike (including, if need be, mountains of water).
But such is not to say that group prayer isnít important. In the vast majority of cases, the more prayer there is, the more efficacious, as long as the prayers are not "vain repetitions." They must have feeling behind them.
Such prayers are seen in Heaven as rays of light from the earth and group prayer forms into a huge beam.
"In two monthsí time, 15-year-old Jeanna Giese's recovery from rabies has been deemed so triumphant that believers around the world have attributed it to the miracle of prayer," reported the Fond Du Lac Reporter in 2004.
"Medical experts say Jeanna is the first person in the history of recorded medicine to have survived a full-blown case of human rabies without having been given an initial series of anti-rabies injections. 'We believe that prayer got us to this point,í said her father, John Giese, when his daughter was officially considered cured on November 18 by Rodney Willoughby, a pediatric infectious disease specialist at Childrenís Hospital and associate professor at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Prayer chains that have traced electronic paths around the globe were credited to being a part of Jeanna's recovery."
The more the merrier. But that doesnít mean we can always avoid disaster.
No, sometimes, despite our prayers, and however many, the Lord sends sufferings. We all go through it in some way and no one escapes it. Many try. They believe that piling up possessions and money will somehow shield them from the pains in life when in fact materialism only brings on more suffering.
In fact let me take a moment here to warn on wealth, because it can be the biggest stumbling block to unlocking what God has in store for you.
The right course, the wondrous way, is to apply all excess gain to Godís cause and accept each storm as an opportunity. As one wise woman used to tell me, all of Godís tests are "good" tests. Handled correctly, they accrue to our benefit. There is actually a light -- a literal light -- at the end of a tunnel we will all traverse, and we must treat life in the light of that truth.
Do you know what the pastor of a church in Punta Gorda told his congregation right after the devastation of Hurricane Charlie?
"My message was the greatness of our community is being born through this suffering," he said -- picking up the pieces (and noting that the lamp in the Blessed Sacrament tabernacle was miraculously lit despite almost total destruction of the church).
When we donít accept life as one long series of "good tests," we only frustrate ourselves. How many times do we find ourselves in a rut? Often, itís because we were not open to the way God wanted us to shift course.
Through prayer, that openness, that surrender, grows. The more we pray, the more we envision the correct pathway, as well as the fruits of faith. Little prayers are answered, and then larger ones. The more prayers that are said (from the heart), the more opportunities there are to watch God work.
Use faith as a muscle, and it will both grow and strengthen. Use it even through your pain, like a bodybuilder. Especially, use it when you are struggling, discouraged, or depressed. Use it even when it doesnít seem to be working. Use it blindly and soon your "faith muscle" will grow to Herculean proportion. Pray about everything -- especially first thing in the morning (all the details of the day ahead).
Through prayer our faith is born, nurtured, and strengthened -- until what it produces is overtly miraculous, which means that big prayers are answered in astounding fashion.
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