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Covenants of Prayer

Covenants of Prayer

Several years ago I attended a church that was deeply involved with a man who had been diagnosed as having terminal cancer. When I first heard of his circumstances, he was in the midst of experimental chemotherapy treatments in Houston. At first I paid little attention when his name was mentioned because I knew nothing about the man or his family. I was somewhat startled to learn that this man was not even a member at the congregation I attended; he and his family worshipped with another congregation across town. Yet, every time we came together for worship this man was mentioned in public prayer. The announcer and/or the minister would give personal updates on the man's condition. Every bulletin included his name at the top of the list.
As I began to inquire about the man, I learned that his circumstances were indeed tragic. He was only about 30 years old, he was married and the father of three young children. I had always thought that when the doctor said "terminal" that we should all say "God's will be done" and let it go at that. But all of these people were persistent in what they called their "covenant of prayer" with this man. I have never forgotten the circumstances because the man did not die! In fact, he serves today as an elder in the church and is a wonderful, compassionate minister to others suffering from cancer. You perhaps know this man; he’s Randy Becton, elder of the church and primary spokesman these days for Herald of Truth.
I know there are other stories. I know we often pray for things we want to happen that do not, for people to be healed who are not. God is still God; His ways are still unsearchable; His will will be done. But I learned in Randy’s story what Jesus meant when he told the parable of the unjust judge (Luke 18:1-8) who responded to the widow's continual begging. How much more will a loving God respond to those who have covenants of prayer with those who are suffering? What is impossible with men--even those gifted in medical science--is still possible with God! If you are not already in the habit of continually praying for others who are hurting, either physically or spiritually or emotionally, make a commitment now to bring that person or those people before God in prayer on a daily basis. If you are the person who is hurting right now, please know that a lot of people never cease bringing you and your needs before God. It is our covenant of prayer with you!
John O. York




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