Items For Prayer And Praise
By Lois J. Stucky
In a town in Venezuela, two persons of a group of drug addicts were in a room together one night. They were in a great crisis and were very scared, because they had overdosed on LSD. Bypassing the occult books in the room, they reached for a Bible which was also there. Coming across the Lord’s Prayer, they began to read it for the first time in their lives.
Over and over they read it: “Forgive us our debts (transgressions) … Deliver us from evil (from the evil one) …” A strange sense of God’s presence came over them. One cried; the other had a feeling of holiness. Both agreed they had a peace which drugs had never given them. A visit to a doctor found them totally healed of the usual damages to the body which drug addicts experience. People now meet regularly in that town for Bible study. “The Word of God is quick and powerful …” (Heb. 4:12).
Another striking example of the wondrous power of the Word of God is told by Clarence V. Hall, a war correspondent during World War II. He came upon a unique, obscure village on Okinawa as he followed the U.S. troops. Thirty years earlier a missionary on his way to Japan had stopped at that village briefly, but long enough to win several converts. He left them a Bible and went on his way, and that was the last outside Christian contact the village was destined to have for thirty years. Two of the converts, brothers, Shosei and Mojon, treasured the Bible. In the words of Hall, “Picking their way through its pages, they had found not only an inspiring Person, Jesus Christ, on whom to pattern a life, but sound precepts on which to base a society.”
The two brothers became village leaders and taught the people of the village to read the Bible daily in school, and to implement its precepts in their hearts and in their village practices and government. After thirty years, every inhabitant of the village was a Christian.
When the American troops came shelling and storming their way into the area, the two elderly brothers met them warmly. The brothers were perhaps in wonderment at the tactics of the soldiers, but knowing it was an American missionary who had given them the precious Bible and knowing these men were also Americans, they welcomed the soldiers gladly as fellow Christians.
The soldiers were astonished to find in this unique village, clean homes and streets, gentle people, a high level of health and happiness, and an intelligent and comparatively prosperous society. This was in sharp contrast to other villages they had been through. The chaplain and the Intelligence officers were called in and were equally amazed.
A tough Armysergeant who walked about the village, with deep feeling said, “I can’t figure it, this kind of people coming out of only a Bible and a couple of old guys who wanted to live like Jesus!” He added, “Maybe we’ve been using the wrong kind of weapons to make the world over!”
Think on that! Think again on that! Can we who have the Word of God so freely in our hands as to tend to take it for granted—realize what a treasure and what a powerful force the Word of God is in hearts and lives and societies? Do we value the transformation it can effect? To start with, it is by the Word of God that individual souls are born anew, that the heart of man is changed. From there on, it is wonderfully life-transforming if believed and obeyed.
Someone has said that reading the Bible, memorizing it, quoting it to ourselves and to others, is to think the thoughts of God after Him. How purifying and how enlarging it is to think the thoughts of God! This is something all Christians ought to aspire to. It is a great defense for us in this hour when there are voices and sights on every hand to draw our attention to ourselves and the world and away from God. Before we know it, the devil has slyly inserted some of his thoughts into our vagabond minds when they are allowed to wander here and there at will. But filled with God’s Word and meditating on it, we think God’s thoughts!
Not only are we to treasure and to obey God’s Word, but let us ask ourselves, are we bent on sharing God’s Word to others with the zeal it deserves? Are we willing to put sacrifice and effort into sharing it? There are those who preach the Word of God, those who print it, those who put it on tapes or records and those who help carry it to the ends of the earth. All need help. Do you have a part in this? If finances limit you in helping to give funds as bountifully as you would like, then back with fervent prayer those who have the opportunity to spread the Word far and wide.
• That God reveals Himself through His Word, as it is prayerfully read and studied and held in mind.
• That God has given the Holy Spirit to be our teacher and guide in the things that pertain to God.
• For the salvation of many Jewish people throughout the world and especially in Israel.
• That the Holy Spirit will inspire us all to love and obey and study and memorize God’s Word with renewed zeal, wherever it might have lagged.
• That parents and grandparents will be alert to the opportunities they have to interest children in the Bible and to lead them to hide it in their hearts by reading and memorizing.
• That God will give special skills and divine enlightenment to those who undertake the tedious work of translating Scriptures into new languages.
• That God will prosper Literacy & Evangelism ministry, laboring to teach illiterates to read, using Bible content in the primers.