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Prayer Note: October

We hope you will enjoy our “Prayer Note” — an internal communication here at The Cove, created each month to remind and encourage our staff to pray. We share these with you at the beginning of each month in hopes that you, too, will be encouraged.

Prayer Note(3)By Donna Riesen


Here in Western North Carolina we’re thankful the recent gas shortage appears to be at an end; but it did wake some of us up to consider a resource we so often take for granted.

A leak in a main pipeline in Alabama resulted in gasoline shortages across the Southeast. Our routine was interrupted for a few days as we faced long lines at gas stations…pump handles covered with plastic bags….entire banks of fuel pumps surrounded with yellow tape. We started thinking more strategically about quick trips to the grocery store or the mall. A few business trips were canceled. Some of us even tried to turn the negative situation into a heart-healthy positive by walking rather than driving to nearby destinations.

A pipeline that most of us have never had a glimpse of suddenly became a fairly significant factor in our everyday life. A resource we’d taken for granted was now scarce. It affected our thinking, our finances, our travel and our plans. Although most of us only suffered minor inconveniences, each of us at one time or another probably wondered, “What if I run out of gas?”

Of all the “What if” scenarios that may plague our minds, we can be grateful there’s one question we’ll never have to ask:


1 Peter 3:12 tells us “the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers.” Even a heavy conscience and a heart clogged with sin cannot sever our connection to God’s grace. His Word tells us to “Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, and He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon (Isaiah 55:6, NKJV).” Our all-powerful God is an abundant, limitless, never-failing source of goodness, grace, mercy, love and forgiveness; and His ear is always open.

Praise God, there is no leaky pipeline that can close off our communication with our heavenly Father. Trials may drain us of hope, and disappointments may find us running low on faith, but here’s the bottom line: “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39, NIV).”  God loves us; and because He loves us, He loves to hear our prayers!

Despite this truth, there are times when it does in fact feel like we cannot pray—times when God seems distant and unreachable, and our prayers appear futile. In those times we can rest in the knowledge that God’s Word is true and His character and promises, unchangeable.  When we can’t see His hand or feel His presence, we can remind ourselves of His faithfulness. Despite our struggles in life and in prayer, God is there. In time the darkness will lift and prayer will again bring sweet communion. In the meantime, He will not relax His hold on us.

As we think about the priceless resource of prayer, here are a few other “What if” questions we may want to ask ourselves:

“What if I thought as strategically about my prayer life as I do about my gas tank?”

“What if I stopped taking prayer for granted and started making it a priority?”

“What if I ceased ‘running on empty’ and paused to ask God for wisdom, strength and direction?”

“What if I refused to allow worry and fear to drain me of joy and instead allowed the Holy Spirit to fill me with hope?”

“What if I made a more regular practice of handing over all my ‘what ifs’ to God in prayer?

Before we head into the busy month of October, what if we just prayed? 

Join us in praying for the following events in October:

All seminars in 2016 are free (lodging and meal fees apply).
(For more information or to register, click on the links below.)

An Evening at The Cove with Point of Grace — October 2

Henry, Richard and Mike Blackaby — October 7-9 
Experiencing God 

Bob Russell — October 10-12
The Reason for Hope

Prescription for Renewal — October 14-16 (and Missionary Medicine Seminar — October 13-14) 

SeniorSalt Impact Hymn Sing — October 20 

Erwin Lutzer — October 24-26
God, Why Me? 

Tommy Nelson — October 28-30
Military Marriage Retreat
— The Book of Romance (Song of Solomon)

Thanks for praying!



Christian Blogger MeetUp at The Cove

Do you have a story to tell?  Have you been called to encourage others and share what God has been teaching you?

Join us at The Cove for a Christian Blogger MeetUp on Wednesday, October 19, 2016 from 1:00-3:00 p.m.!

Come network with fellow Christian bloggers, learn tips and strategies that will help your message reach more people, and participate in round-table discussions on blogging.

While attendance is free, your RSVP is required.

Click here to register online.

Space is limited, so reserve your spot today!


Saturday Snapshot – Fall Photo Challenge Recap


The Cove’s 14-Day Photo Challenge has come to an end. Thanks to everyone who participated!

We wanted to create a challenge that would celebrate the Summer to Fall transition and although there has not been a lot of Fall color to share, we were amazed at everyone’s creativity!

Following is the photo prompt list and all 14 days of our posts.  We hope you enjoy!


Day 1 - Photo Prompt: “Be Still”

“Be still, and know that I am God.” After a busy summer, this may be a good time to reevaluate our routines. What better place to start then to be still with God and listen to His guidance.
Photo: Kneeler in the Training Center prayer room.

Be Still 9-3(small)

Day 2 – Photo Prompt: “Newspaper”

Tragic story in Asheville’s newspaper today, but father and son’s faith and trust in God is highlighted. After losing his 8-year old son to brain cancer last week (he also lost his wife to cancer in 2014), father shares, “My faith is what’s kept me functioning and as strong as I am. And Malachi’s faith was equally strong.” Please keep Jay Siltzer in your prayers as he walks through this sorrowful time.

Newspaper 9-4(small)

Day 3 – Photo Prompt: “Labor”

Happy Labor Day! What are you up to today? Photo: Some of the great people who work at The Cove. We are blessed!

Labor Day 9-5(small)
Day 4 - Photo Prompt: “Verse”

What Scripture has had the most impact in your Christian walk? This is a picture of Will Graham’s Bible and his life verse: John 3:30

Verse 9-6(small)

Day 5 - Photo Prompt: “Tradition”

We asked Gigi Graham (Billy & Ruth Graham’s eldest daughter) a Fall tradition she remembered from her childhood. She shared, “One sweet thing was as my parents got older, for years the first beautiful Fall leaf daddy found, he world pick it up and take it to mama. She preferred that to a red rose.” What Fall tradition do you enjoy now or remember from your childhood?

Tradition_9-7(Leaf on moss)(small)

Day 6 – Photo Prompt: “Throwback”

May 1936, along with 25 other students, Billy Graham (The Cove founder) graduated from Sharon High School. He wrote these words as his yearbook entry: “My hopes and plans for the future is to serve God and do His will as a minister of the Gospel.”

Throwback Thursday 9-8

Day 7 – Photo Prompt: “Morning”

The sun reflecting off the clouds at the break of day. The Training Center deck is such a serene place to be early in the morning.

Morning 9-12(small)2
Day 8 – Photo Prompt: “Worship”

“Worship in the truest sense takes place only when our full attention is on God — on His glory, power, majesty, love and compassion.” — Billy Graham
Photo: Chatlos Memorial Chapel sanctuary at The Cove.

Worship 9-10 (small)

Day 9 – Photo Prompt: “Remember”

“No matter how hard we try, words simply cannot express the horror, the shock and the revulsion we all feel over what took place in this nation on Tuesday morning. September 11 will go down in our history as a Day to Remember. We’ve seen so much that brings tears to our eyes and makes us all feel a sense of anger. But God can be trusted, even when life seems at its darkest.” — Billy Graham at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., on Friday, September 14, 2001.
Photo: Pictorial display in the Training Center.

Remembrance 9-11(small)
Day 10 – Photo Prompt: “Morning”

Here at The Cove, we are blessed to begin our days with staff devotions. Will Graham is currently teaching from the book of 2 Samuel. How do you start your mornings?

Morning 9-12(small)

Day 11 – Photo Prompt: “Food”

There are so many good Fall foods and seasonal treats. This is one of our favorites! Our pastry chef is amazing and her Pecan Pie will melt in your mouth! You can find this recipe, by clicking here.  Enjoy! What are your favorite Fall-type foods?

Food 9-13(small)

Day 12- Photo prompt: “Gratitude”

We are grateful for the able hands and willing hearts of those who work on The Cove grounds and maintenance team. We see them as God’s helpers in making things look extra beautiful around here!

Thankfulness 9-14(small)

Day 13- Photo prompt: “Leaves”

We’ve not reached peak leaf season yet, here in Asheville, but every day transformation is taking place right before our eyes. While the beautiful fall colors will be abundant and delight us even more in the weeks to come, the small daily changes in the leaves provide much beauty, too. Don’t let these small glimpses escape your attention!

Leaves 9-13(small)

Day 14- Photo prompt: “Moon”

The moon was full when, a guest here at The Cove, took this amazing photo from the rear Training Center deck last year. This being the last day of our photo challenge, we thought what better time than on the day of the Harvest Moon to share this image. shares with us: “Summer’s end is on the horizon, and the arrival of autumn will be heralded by a Harvest Moon on Sept. 16. The term “Harvest Moon” refers to the full moon that falls nearest to the autumnal equinox, which will take place on Sept. 22.”

Moon off the TC deck from guest 2

Here’s a quick recap of what other participants of the photo challenged shared with us!

Screenshot_2016-09-13-09-33-36 Screenshot_2016-09-13-09-33-43



Click here to follow our Instagram page.

Be on the lookout for our next photo challenge in 2017!

We’d love for you to stop by for a visit and tour the Chatlos Memorial Chapel & Visitors Center.  Both tours are free.  Click here for directions and operating hours.

Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.