When I was asked to write this devotional on the account of Jesus calming the storm, my initial response was to say, “No! We ourselves are in a big enough storm already and the waves are coming into our boat. Help!” But my wife said, “There are plenty of articles written from the safety of the calm waters after the storm, not so many of having to trust Jesus in the midst of the storm.” (Don’t we bless our spouses at times?)
Our storm comes in the form of a house move from one end of the country to the other, to a smaller place we have never seen. Currently, we have masses of additional storage filled with timber and machinery from a previous business and a lifetime of activities and memories. God is stripping away the excess that we might know Him better. But it’s painful too and, as I write, we are due to move in a little over two weeks’ time. The stress has been – still is – immense, demanding that we call continually on Jesus for His rescue. And we appreciate the love and help of family, too.
Not only that, when He’s ‘sleeping’ it seems He doesn’t care about us. And prayer can actually become more difficult just when the need is greatest and we should be shouting the loudest. This is just the situation so many prisoners find themselves in.
For the most part, we have been working with men with significant sentences. Many of them are older and have never been inside before. At those times, the devastation – the storm – is then so overwhelming that they are at the end of their tether and desperately in need of someone alongside them in their pain and helplessness. Another frequent storm occurs when things are going on in their families. Locked up and unable to be there, they can do nothing to help. That’s stress – and when our support and prayers are so very important.
Coming alongside them in their distress, with real heartfelt prayer, somehow touches God’s heart. “The fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much,” James tells us (the poetry of the old KJV somehow bringing these words alive in a new way), and in Matthew 25, Jesus specifically commends those who care for the needy and the prisoner.
So we have good grounds to seek God’s help: we are righteous before Him on account of the cross, plus intercessory prayer calls upon God to act in accordance with His character and promises. “I was in prison and you cared for me – you called to me for the lost and needy and hurting. Excellent! – I will hear you and act. Just call.”
Rolf Burnie is the Area Leader for the South West of England.
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