James 5:16 (NLT)
Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.
This past week I have been blessed by all of the phone calls, emails, text messages, and comments on Facebook from everyone concerned about my health. While I was unnecessarily scared by the original diagnosis, it appears I have a disc problem in my spine that has caused me all the pain in my legs for the past several weeks. While a disc problem is nothing to be happy about it is certainly better than the original prognosis. However, all of the prayers, outpouring of love and concern got me thinking about the power of prayer. It reminded me of one of the great stories of answered prayer in Church history. One of the earliest and the most outstanding intellectuals, leaders and defenders of the Christian faith was Augustine, the fourth century writer of the “Confessions of Saint Augustine,” one of the most famous tell-all autobiographies written. Young Augustine was a hedonist, a philosopher, an agnostic, and a rebel, but his mother Monica was a godly, persistent, and resourceful woman. Augustine often laughed at her mother’s pious ways, mocked her faith, and deliberately defied her continual pleading for him to repent of his pagan lifestyle, to convert to Christ, and to live an exemplary life. When Augustine wanted to leave the shores of Carthage, North Africa, for the bright lights of Rome, his mother feared the worst for her son, dreaded the outcome of his leaving, and often fled to the church for solace, prayer, and advice. In her despair, she would often weep uncontrollably for her son. One day a minister noticed her painful cries, and asked her why she was so bitter. She told him of his wayward son, but the bishop assured her with these words: “Go in peace; as you live, it cannot be that the son of these tears should perish.” Augustine avoided his mother as much as possible and ignored her warnings time and again, but he could not escape her continuous prayers. Monica painstakingly prayed, wept, and looked for her son for 30 years until Augustine surrendered his life to Christ. James was right when he said, “The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” Thanks for the prayers and please keep them coming.