Dear Church Family,
Jesus talked a great deal about prayer. Here is one example:

“When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites. They love to stand in the synagogues and on the street corners and pray loudly. They want people to see them pray. I tell you the truth. They already have their full reward. When you pray, you should go into your room and close the door. Then pray to your Father who cannot be seen. Your Father can see what is done in secret, and he will reward you.” –Matthew 6: 5-6
Today is the World Day of Prayer. It was begun by women in the United States and Canada about 90 years ago and they spread the invitation around the world for women to come together in prayer. Today, the World Day of Prayer truly does extend throughout the entire world with groups of women coming together to pray in China and Denmark, in India and even here in Fort Smith.

This year’s focus country for prayer is Cuba. In learning this, it reminded me of my trip to Cuba over 10 years ago. I was there visiting congregations and representing the church I served. I will not soon forget the story one of Cuba’s pastors told me. We were about to spend some time with a church’s women’s group in the middle section of the country. Just before we walked in, the pastor said, “You are going to meet the people who saved the church in Cuba. There would be no Christianity in Cuba today if it were not for them.” I asked him to explain. He said, “When we were under the worst of Communism, the men could not gather and worship. They could not come to church. But the women would slip under the government’s radar. They kept coming. Even with great danger, they kept worshiping.”

Then the pastor opened the door and introduced me to the women. They were all in their 60s, 70s and 80s, mild-mannered and polite. Upon first glance, I never could have guessed what risk they had taken; what courage and faith they had.

I suppose that was the point.

The government never guessed either. When the country’s leaders thought they had eradicated churches and the Christian faith, they hadn’t counted on the women. And the women proved them wrong.

What a story to remember on this day when the world comes together to pray. May our lives point as truly and directly to our Savior as theirs did.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, we offer all our prayers in your holy name because, in the power of your name our stumbling words become powerful. Help me to always turn to you in prayer. Then help me live those prayers in my actions. In your name I ask it. Amen.

Christ’s Peace be with you,