All American Speedway
October 15, 2016
“Heard, Understood, Acknowledged”
Here we are at the last event for the 2016 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West season. It has come and gone faster than ever I remember. That means I want to leave you with some “homework” for the off season. Yes, that’s an oxymoron for race teams and this industry.
But since we call it that what can I leave that is both foundational and relevant every day between today and the time we gather again for the 2017 season? At this point I will let today’s message answer.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6
Questions for you:
- What do you do with your worries?
- Do you turn them inward, or turn them upward?
When the brutal Assyrian King Sennacherib was preparing to destroy Jerusalem, he sent a message to King Hezekiah saying that Judah would be no different from all the other nations he had conquered. Hezekiah took this message to the temple in Jerusalem, and “spread it out before the Lord” (Isaiah 37:14). He then prayed and asked for help from Almighty God.
Soon afterward Isaiah the prophet delivered this message to Hezekiah from the Lord: “Because you prayed about King Sennacherib of Assyria, the Lord has spoken” (Isaiah 37:21–22).
Scripture tells us that Hezekiah’s prayer was answered that very night. God intervened miraculously, conquering the enemy forces outside the city gates. The Assyrian army didn’t even “shoot an arrow” (v. 33). Sennacherib would leave Jerusalem, never to return.
There is an important message for us today in God’s message to Hezekiah:
- “Because you prayed”—show us the best place to go with our worries.
- Because Hezekiah turned to God in prayer, He rescued him and his people.
- When we turn our worries into prayer, we discover that God is faithful in unexpected ways!
When encountering terrible threats, King David asked God for help. He wanted to be assured of God’s nearness as he faced enemies in battle. In a heartfelt petition David said, “Be my rock of refuge, to which I can always go . . . . Do not be far from me, my God; come quickly, God, to help me” (Psalms 71 verses 3, 12).
If you need a more modern success story consider this one from 911:
On September 11, 2001, Stanley Praimnath was working on the 81st floor of the World Trade Center South Tower when he saw an airplane flying directly toward him. Stanley prayed a quick prayer as he dove under a desk for protection: “Lord, I can’t do this! You take over!”
The terrible impact of the plane crash trapped Stanley behind a wall of debris. But as he prayed and cried for help, Brian Clark, a worker from another office, heard and responded. Making their way through rubble and darkness, the two found their way down 80 flights of stairs to the ground floor and out.
(You can Google Stanley and Brian for their remarkable story.)
For me personally, I have a few stories that had impossible outcomes except we asked God for help. Interestingly, they had witnesses each time. One time with our daughters, and a couple other times in the former Soviet Bloc before the Berlin Wall fell in 1989. And a couple of those times were with about thirty some people we were leading. If I have time today I will tell you one story. If not, ask my girls when you see them next or ask Kathy.
The take away here that I want you to get is that:
We aren’t promised deliverance from every difficult situation we face. But we can be confident that God hears our prayers and will walk alongside us through everything.
So then, over the next few months hopefully nothing serious comes into your life. But if it does remember to practice the principals set before us in examples from scripture and recent history today.
In those times consider these type prayers:
- Whatever comes my way, please come near to me, Lord, to help. I cannot make it through anything without You. Thank You.
- Father, please help me to turn my worries into prayer. My problems are better in Your hands than in my own.
You can count upon this statement by E.M. Bounds:
“When it comes to prayer 1 Thessalonians 5:17 says: “Pray continually” or always be in a spirit of prayer. Even some of us adults can find prayer to be boring. Maybe that’s because we don’t know what to say or don’t understand that prayer is a conversation with our Father. I totally understand that. Something François Fénelon wrote back in the 17th century may help. “Tell God all that is in your heart, just like you unload your heart to a friend. Tell Him its pleasures and its pains. Tell Him your troubles, that He may comfort you; tell Him your joys, that He may sober them; tell Him your longings, that He may purify them. Talk to Him about your temptations, that He may shield you from them: show Him the wounds of your heart, that He may heal them. If you pour out all your weaknesses, needs, troubles, there will be no lack of what to say.” Between all that kind of stuff we keep inside us I agree with Francois that I doubt any one of us would run out of things to say for quite a while!” (I changed his words a bit to get them up to today’s language) Blessings to ya’ll.
Let me close with one last reminder that I have learned through the years when I find myself needing God’s help and I turn to prayer: “God rarely shows up early, but He NEVER shows up late!”