Billy Graham Q&A

Q:

Family prayer is a thing of the past. Does it really matter?


A:

From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Habits can often become rituals that make no impact but prayer is a vital link in having strength and endurance in the home. The old saying, “A family that prays together, stays together” carries a lot of weight. Prayer drives people to God—and God is ready to listen and answer. What a privilege that so many families miss out on. Prayer unifies and energizes the family unit. It can be a reminder that we do not have to go out into the world without the power of God going with us. Only by direct contact with God through prayer can we hope to have the serenity and security that will enable us to be a witness for Him in a dark and confused world.

The practice of prayer also equips family members to pray effectively amid the pressures of jobs, school and community relations. The home is the best place to learn spiritual lessons such as these.

Prayer is the best way to prepare for whatever is in store for us in the critical and testing times of life. When difficulties come, we don’t have to be dependent on the circumstances around us, but on the hidden resource within us—and that is God Himself.

The Bible says that we should “give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4) and what a wonderful example that can be in the home. True prayer is a way of life, not just for use in cases of emergency. Make prayer a good habit, and when the need arises you will be in practice! Let’s never be too busy to pray.

(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)

Dig deeper into what prayer is and why we pray.

Devotional six You Version

Heard God through Others?

God speaks through His people. He empowers us as agents to carry His messages—as Ananias did to Saul, as Cornelius did to Peter (and Peter did back to Cornelius). This method, human agency, is the second of God’s two preferred methods of communicating with us. Examples of it abound in Scripture. And, of course, Scripture itself is an example: the biblical authors were His agents in communicating His precious words to us.

How does it work? Well, while God uses His still, small voice to reach us directly, speaking into our minds, originating thoughts there instantly, He uses that very same voice to also reach us indirectly—that is, by speaking directly into the minds of others, directing a few of their thoughts, and then allowing them to use their spoken or written words to take His messages the rest of the way, to us. It may be that one of us, one in need of hearing from God, isn’t used to hearing from Him, or doesn’t recognize His voice or just isn’t listening . . . or maybe doesn’t want to listen. Whatever the reason, it’s clear that God uses people who are listening and do want to hear to reach others who need to hear. It could be the inspired words of a pastor in the pulpit or the encouraging words of a friend at a coffee shop or the challenging words of brothers in a men’s group . . . or any one of many, many other possibilities.

Okay, so what do we do?

Do you want to hear God’s voice? Does your busy calendar allow for it? Have you committed yourself to a group of men who are willing to speak His truth into your life? Think about these questions, brother—and commit today to figuring out how to begin to answer them affirmatively.

Devotional five You Version

Heard His Still, Small Voice?
Still, small voice—the words come from the First Book of Kings. The Prophet Elijah emerged from a cave on the mountain called Horeb:

“ . . a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire . . .” (1 Kings 19:11–12)

After the fire, Elijah heard a “still, small voice.” God’s voice. God taught Elijah something that day. He taught us. He demonstrated, in dramatic manner, a preferred method of communication.

So, what is the “still, small voice”? Well, it’s more about our thoughts than about an audible voice. So, thoughts . . . they can be crystallized in many ways: in words—sort of an inner voice—or perhaps as pictures, feelings, or impulses. Originating them in the mind of another is neither complicated, nor difficult. We do it every day. Engaging in conversation with someone, we direct their thinking and they ours. There are limits, of course. We need some combination of physical media—ink on paper, pixels on screens, ones and zeros flowing over wires, vibrations of vocal cords, waves of electromagnetic radiation. Does God need physical media to originate thoughts in our minds? No, of course not. If we follow the King, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit is there already—He dwells within us (Romans 8:9–11).

Okay, so what do we do?
Could God have already been at work in your mind, originating thoughts? I’ll bet. Could it be that you didn’t notice, didn’t recognize it? Begin today, brother, to sift. Begin to note which thoughts are likely yours alone, which were clearly originated by others . . . and which just might’ve been originated by God.