Monday, June 14, 2010

Praying in the haystack...

I am just now reading through the book on my dad's life and ministry, "Everything by Prayer", written by our good friend, Fred Hartley. I skimmed it after dad went to heaven, it was just too painful right then to read it word for word, the sense of loss was too fresh. But now... I am loving it, the tears still come, but I am re-living so much of dad's life...

Here's a neat story that came right from dad, one he shared with us many times during our growing up years...

He is describing an old Methodist minister whose praying caught my dad's attention immediately. Dad was 24 at the time and said "when I prayed, God was 'way out there' somewhere in the distance, listening. The answer, too, usually seemed off in the distance.... but when this Methodist lay preacher prayed, it was different!"

Fred writes what dad said...

"Eager to learn his secret, I went to see him one day. His name was Ambrose Whaley, everyone called him "Uncle Am". He was a retired blacksmith, a Methdist lay preacher. I soon came to the point: "Uncle Am, I would love to pray with you". At once he arose, led me outside across the driveway into a red barn, up a ladder, into a haystack! There, in some old hay, lay two big Bibles. I prayed first, as a I recall it. Poured out my heart, needs, burdens, wishes, aspirations, ambitions to God. Then he prayed - and there was "that difference" again. There, in that that barn, on our knees, at the eyeball level, I said "Uncle Am, what is it?... You have some kind of secret in praying. Would you mind sharing it with me?"

"I was 24, he was 73 and with an eagle-look in his eyes, he said, "Young man, learn to plead the promises of God!" That did it! Those 9 words have echoed in my soul a thousand times since. My praying has never been the same That word completely changed my understanding of prayer. Mentally, I "saw it" as soon as he said it. Saw what? When I prayed there was fervency, ambition, etc. And make no mistake about it, the Lord does not put a squelch on these either... But I lacked faith!...

There must be faith. Where does that come from? From hearing the Word of God. Uncle Am would plead scripture after scripture, reminding Him of promise after promise, pleading those promises like a lawyer does his case, all along the Holy Spirit pouring in His assurance. With this discovery, God really gave me a new Bible! That day I learned how to make the Bible my prayer book. It gave me new motivation for Bible study. I began to dig in"

...... And now, here I am, his daughter...so many years later, and learning and re-learning for myself the same lessons my dad first learned in that haystack! I am seeing in new ways that in order to pray God's promises... I need to KNOW those promises! My dad had to learn them with his own study of God's Word... so do I!

I am 'pleading the promises of God' in my own life and for my family and friends... It gives real punch to my prayers when I know that God has already given His promises for what I am praying about! Then I know it's not just me... but God who has said so! So, like my dad, it has made me want to know more about what those promises to me include, and they are all there, in God's Word!



15 comments:

Debra said...

"Uncle Am" was a very wise man! Praying God's promises! I pray for faith the size of a mustard seed!

How wonderful you have access to a book about your dad's life and ministry. What a blessing!

manthano said...

THANKS

NanaNor's said...

Blessings to you Sonja, Loved this post and the truth as shared. For many years I have prayed and claimed the promises in His Word and once someone told me that I don't need to remind God of His Word but I believe He delights in hearing His children echo back His heart to Him. Thank you for this blessing today.
Hugs, Noreen

Tammy said...

This post was speaking to me.

For the last 7 months I've had such a hungry to learn more about prayer. To pray with "faith" that will move mountains!

'pleading the promises of God' and "make the Bible my prayer book." Thank you for sharing and helping me to become a better prayer warrior.

You are a blessing to me,
Tammy

Debbie said...

Sonja, I love it when you share about your dad. What lessons he's still teaching and not only you ...but your 'new sister' too!

I've tried speaking Scripture aloud. And there have been times when I've prayed something like "Your Word says ..." but I cannot say I plead the Scriptures.

However, I am going to start thanks to your dad's story.

Is that book still available today? I didn't realize there was a book about him. I will check amazon.

I love learning more about your or should I say our family. :)

Love you,
Debbie

myletterstoemily said...

what a wonderful heritage you have! this is such
a great story and so true!

i keep a bible next to my bed and pray the scripture
over my family and those He lays on my heart each
night.

it keeps my prayers focused, biblical, and powerful.

LOVE this post. keep the stories coming!!!

beBOLDjen said...

Thanks so much for sharing. What a great story! You always have something valuable to read.

Dianna said...

What a beautiful tribute to your dad, Sonja. Thank you for sharing this portion of the book on his life with us. I would have loved to known your father.

Janette@Janette's Sage said...

We just returned from our time away for our Anniversary and this hits the spot. We had a very precious time of stopping and hearing from God...now we need to go deeper. Thanks for such a strong word,
Janette

Just a little something from Judy said...

When you share your dad, it always makes me think of my dad. This is so interesting. I grew up visiting family friends on their farm, and we spent many hours in the hayloft. Unfortunately, I never learned to pray there. Your dad and his friend has inspired me today by their lives and words, and they aren't even on this earth any more. How special is that. This was a powerful and wonderful post! Thank you for sharing this. Prayer was such a crucial part of my dad's life too. I want it to be a more crucial part of mine too.

LisaShaw said...

Hi Sonja,

Praying all is well with you my friend. You already know this is blessing me deeply! I love the treat of hearing about (and now reading) about your Dad.

What an amazing legacy his love for GOD and prayer has left for you and your entire family.

Love you and praying for and with you!

Saleslady371 said...

It is so wonderful and personal that you share about your father with us. Your heritage is great. Scripture praying is saying what God says about the situation! I love to behold His promises in my prayer closet too and I thank you so much for your powerful prayers for me and my family during our hard times! God's Word is powerful when spoken on behalf of another's need.

Love,
Mary

Runner Mom said...

Oh, Sonja! What a beautiful lesson from Uncle Am and your precious Daddy. It really touched my heart. I am digging through the scriptures daily, and I want to know His Word through and through! This post is such an encouragement to me. Thank you!

Hugs!
Susan
(BTW, my father-in-law is a retired Methodist minister! Is that book about your Daddy available?)

Runner Mom said...

Your Daddy's book is on amazon.com --along with other books that he wrote! Wow! That is so special! I plan on ordering it. Thanks again for sharing. :)

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

A powerful word! I want a book too. I love reading about your family history, so let me know how I can get one? I just answered Runner Mom's question about summer reads. I'm currently working my way through Will Willimon's "This We Believe." It's a fantastic theology book on the core of Wesleyan faith and practice; it's making a big imprint on my heart, mind, and soul.

Thanks for your prayers this week.

peace~elaine