Posted by: valerieburgess | June 9, 2008

Fervent, 40-Below Prayers

James 5:16
“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

Fervent, Forty-Below Prayers
About a year ago, I encouraged my boys, ages eleven and sixteen, to accompany their Dad on an overnight snow machine trip. All the thoughts of father and son bonding bubbled up inside of me. I explained to them how great this trip with their father could be. They half heartedly acquiesced to the trip, because they didn’t want to disappoint Mom or Dad, not because they anticipated having a grand time.
They packed up and started off. The crisp, cold day would make snowmobiling on the lake perfect; that is, if they had made their trip during the daylight hours. At 6 p.m. the sun went down and the temperatures began to drop. From home, I watched the temperatures lower on an internet weather indicating site.  By 9 p.m. the temperatures had reached 40-below, and I knew they had not had time to reach their destination. They were on the lake driving snowmobiles at forty-below.

I had prayed from the moment they left on the trip, but every drop in the temperature increased the fervency of my prayers. The more fervent my prayers, the more specific they became. I prayed for toes and fingers over and over again. At 40-below, children don’t have much protection against the cold. I knew that the lake could be dangerous in bad weather, so safety and direction on the lake, particularly a swift trip to the cabin, was necessary.  I asked God to provide warmth in the cabin heated solely by firewood.  If anyone gave in to fatigue, it would be fatal. I prayed that they would persevere until they were able to come home.  I asked God to grant them wisdom in the mind-boggling cold.

Tonight as I looked back on that incident that took place a little over a year ago, I pictured a young ministers’ wife lying in bed tossing and turning as fervent prayers allowed little time for rest. She was not praying for a man and two children on a frozen lake at 40 degrees below zero. She was upholding a father and son on a mission’s trip. She knew that their ministry had the same possibilities for danger as a 40-below snowmobile trip if not bathed in prayer.

Next, the picture of fervency for prayer became focused on a Dad and a son out far from a mother’s reach, but not far from her prayers. I envisioned frequent trips that took them farther and farther away from God. Their need for salvation was more imminent then any trip on a frozen lake at 40-below. The prayers for these who had strayed far from God needed to be very specific and effectual. They too needed to be brought home safely, like the prodigal son. They needed fervent 40-below prayers for their rescue.
God calls our whole church to join families fervently in praying over those who are sent out and those who are outside Christ’s saving grace. More and more we are sending out ministers and missionaries, children and adults step out on to do the work of Christ in unknown places. Both missionaries and those far from God have stepped into the devil’s territory, a 40-below trip on a frozen lake. The warfare is strong.  Pray fervently for their safety and a swift or timely return home.


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