Large and heavy snowflakes were falling fast outside my study window. The coated branches of the Norway Spruce were bending from their weight. “Beautiful,” I thought. Suddenly the building shook from the shock wave of the thunder! Fifteen years and that church and its windows have never shook due to a storm! I don’t know what climatic power was being unleashed in the clouds above us but for one brief moment in the midst of a beautiful snow storm, it shook the building.
Just a few hours earlier on the night before (Wednesday), I taught about Jesus’ prayer for us. We came to the altar and spent time together in worship and prayer for people from our congregation and missionaries. One of the passages we looked at was verse 11. “Holy Father, you have given me your name; now protect them by the power of your name so that they will be united just as we are.” (John 17:11, NLT) We know that there is evil we need protecting from. Perhaps it doesn’t come as a surprise that we need protection. More in a moment about that a little later! Back to a shaking building.
When the church shook Thursday, my immediate thought was how even the prayer meetings of the church in Acts would result in the building being shook. “While they were praying, the place where they were meeting trembled and shook. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and continued to speak God’s Word with fearless confidence.” (Acts 4:31, Message) To be filled with the Holy Spirit is to walk with Christ, live for Christ and proclaim Christ! The Holy Spirit doesn’t speak of himself but always of Christ! I pray that each of us will be filled anew with the Holy Spirit.
We must never rest upon yesterday’s prayers for the fulness of the Holy Spirit. The apostles continually prayed, like Jesus did. It was noted of them in Acts 4 they walked with Christ. “They also recognized them as men who had been with Jesus.” (Acts 4:13, NLT) We place ourselves in a position for the Spirit of God to flow through us with grace and power as we spend time in prayer and the study of the Scriptures. The apostles’ lives were constantly in danger and they needed protection.
Think too of the power our witness for Christ as we worship God in every trial and conflict. The apostles Paul and Silas were in prison for their faithfulness. They preached the Good News. They prayed that God would deliver a troubled girl that was under the control of the devil. God marvelously set her free! Now for their troubles, they are beaten and tossed in jail. Their response? “Around midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors immediately flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off!” (Acts 16:25–26, NLT) Just a coincidence, I don’t think so. The timing of the earthquake while they worshipped. God shakes prayer meetings and jails. God shakes the powers of hell and sets the afflicted free! Protected by the power of His name!
Today, in the Atlanta Airport, while I was waiting on a connecting flight, a little girl walked over to me and just began talking with me. I looked up at her parents, and they smiled, so I began to talk with her. She leaned on my leg and I showed her pictures on my iPhone of my family. “All of them are your children!” she exclaimed! Yes, I told her. She walked over and told her Dad, I had a lot of children. We have four. She came back and then told me her grandmother had chickens that laid eggs. While her parents watched she made me her friend. One day, she will come to know that this a dangerous world. Right now, she has a mother and father watching over her, while she talks to a man she doesn’t know. You have a heavenly Father that is watching over you, protecting you from danger in this world. Also, the picture we have of our Savior in the epistles is that he is at the right of the Father interceding in prayer for you. “Therefore he [Jesus] is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf.” (Hebrews 7:25, NLT)
By faith and grace we laugh with joy despite all the danger in this world. Because Jesus is interceding, “Protect them by the power of your name!”
Those are just some thoughts from the thunder snow and a little girl who wanted to be my friend today.