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DEVOTION: When not to pray

DEVOTION: When not to pray

Moody's response seemed simply wrong.

Prayer in a storm

Dwight Moody was a famous American evangelist in the 1800s. On one of his many trips, he was on a Great Lakes schooner in Lake Michigan. Traveling by ship in those days was not without risk. The storm that overtook Moody's ship proved that point.

With their ship tossed by huge waves, the passengers feared for their lives. Many of them huddled in prayer, pleading for God's deliverance. 

No prayer from Moody

Since Moody was onboard, the Christians invited him to join their prayer service. But he said, “No, I don’t want to.” 

The Christians were dumbfounded. How could this pastor -- an evangelist of world renown -- turn them down? “Why?” they asked. 

“I have a sister in Chicago," Moody told them, "and I have a sister in heaven. I don’t care which one I see tonight.” 

Why refuse to pray?

What do you think? Did Moody fumble an opportunity to serve God's people in a time of need? Or was he teaching these Christians a larger lesson?

“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain,” Paul wrote to the Philippians (1:21). At the time he was in prison with the threat of execution shading him day after day.

The Apostle's response to his life or death situation? If I continue living, I will enjoy the blessing of living to thank Jesus for his grace. I want that. But if I die, I gain much more. I will find myself in heaven, personally worshiping my Savior. I want that even more.

Grace brings peace

Jesus' Good Friday cross and Easter tomb guarantee that everything has to work for our benefit. Everything. Including life's traumas and terrors (Romans 8:28).

Moody knew how important prayer is in the Christian's life, especially when that life is threatened. But he also knew of the peace that comes with God's grace, a peace that transcends understanding (Philiippians 4:7.).

In Jesus, that peace belongs to each of us.