“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.” Matthew 7:1-2
“We cannot pray and remain the same. We cannot pray and have our homes remain the same. We cannot pray and have the world about us remain the same. God has decreed to act in response to prayer. ‘Ask,’ He commands us. And Satan trembles for fear we will.” —Ruth Bell Graham, Legacy of a Pack Rat
By Donna Riesen:
Ruth Bell Graham was a woman of prayer; and Ruth’s Prayer Garden, opening June 2, 2016 at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove, is designed to honor her memory and encourage others to pray. As the wife of evangelist Billy Graham, Ruth’s schedule was packed full with commitments—at times she traveled with her husband to crusades around the world, yet most often Ruth supported him behind the scenes and out of the spotlight by shouldering the responsibility of caring for their five children at their home in Montreat. This remarkable woman could not have had the impact she had on her husband, her family, and the world, without the daily discipline of prayer.
Winding along pathways surrounding Chatlos Memorial Chapel, Ruth’s Prayer Garden will offer a peaceful place for prayer and meditation amid the natural beauty and serenity of The Cove.
“My grandfather wanted this place to be known as a mountain of prayer,” says Will Graham, executive director of The Cove and grandson of Billy and Ruth. “There’s prayer going out all over The Cove, from our Intercessory Prayer Team to our staff prayers to our Personal Spiritual Retreats. There are so many needs facing us today, we can’t pray enough!”
“Like The Cove itself, this garden is designed to be an extension of my grandparents’ home at Montreat,” Will says.
With five children in the household, the Graham home was a place of laughter, activity, and the usual childhood scrapes and squabbles; but more importantly, it was a place of prayer.
“I would go down to her room late at night,” daughter Anne Graham Lotz remembers. “I would see the light on underneath the door and I’d go in, and she would be on her knees in prayer.”
Daughter Ruth Graham reflects, “Faith was the very heartbeat of life at Little Piney Cove. We began and ended each day as a family on our knees in prayer.”
Ruth’s Prayer Garden was created to honor and perpetuate this legacy of prayer.
The garden was also designed to be a reflection of Ruth’s love of nature and appreciation for the beauty of her North Carolina mountain home. Lucas Jack, horticulturist and supervisor of Grounds Maintenance at The Cove, explains how great care was taken to convey Ruth’s personality as a gardener and plant- lover. When asked about the process of planning and designing the gardenscape, Jack noted, “Everything that I know of Ruth Graham has been learned secondhand, which is difficult when trying to piece together a ‘botanical personality.’ I learned she really didn’t have dislikes but had a lot of favorites. She loved color and appreciated gardens in general, and we’ve tried to convey her botanical personality by including many of the plants and flowers she loved.”
Roses, daylilies, touch-me- nots will line the winding paths. “Our goal was not to overwhelm the visitor with the landscape,” Jack says, “but to allow them to enjoy the experience and feel as if they are part of it.”
Ruth’s love for color and beauty may have been the result of two strong childhood influences: her early childhood years in China as the daughter of medical missionaries, and her teen years in Montreat.
According to grandson Will, “My great-grandfather Nelson Bell loved gardens and gardening. He loved flowers and plants, and he used them to teach lessons to his children. When we work with our hands in a garden, God teaches us things.”
If she were here today, Ruth Bell Graham would probably agree. When you visit Ruth’s Prayer Garden, enjoy the view and take time to smell the roses; then bow your head and echo the disciples’ request to Jesus: “Lord, teach us to pray.” (Luke 11:1, NKJV)
We hope you’ll make plans to visit Ruth’s Prayer Garden at the Chatlos Memorial Chapel and Visitors Center. Click here for directions and operating hours.
Click here for a schedule of seminar, concerts and retreats at The Cove in beautiful Asheville, NC.
We hope that 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 will share these with you at the beginning of each month in hopes that, you too, will be encouraged.
Have you opened your windows yet? The warm spring days we’ve been enjoying here in Western North Carolina call for open windows and long walks in the fresh air. For many of us, the dark, closed-in feeling that brought on cabin fever in February is eclipsed in April by the hopeful signs of spring, bringing renewed energy and a desire to start fresh on the inside and out.
Thus signals the annual return of a longstanding tradition: Spring Cleaning. We scrub and polish and dust and shine until every surface sparkles. By the time the overhaul is complete, only a few errant dust particles remain suspended in the bright beams of sunlight streaming through freshly cleaned windows.
Some years are different, though. However noble our housecleaning goals may be, sometimes a busy schedule overrides Spring Cleaning. That’s where practical shortcuts can come in handy.
Since I’m pressed for time this year, scented candles and plug-in air fresheners will have to do the trick. With such enticing names as “Gorgeous Day,” “Lilac Loveliness,” “Ocean Breeze” and “Sundrenched Linen,” I’m having a difficult time choosing; however, anything’s better than what I have at home: “Midwinter Dust.”
When necessary, this shortcut approach can come in handy. After all, we all enjoy taking a whiff of a pleasant aroma.
Did you know that our prayers are a pleasant aroma to God?
“Let my prayer be counted as incense before You, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice (Psalm 141:2, ESV).”
“And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people (Revelation 4:8, NIV).
Author Elisabeth Elliot explains, “In these verses, our prayers are described as being “like incense” to God. All of our prayers are included, from the most eloquent ones to the most inarticulate groanings. What is incense good for? It appears to serve no practical purpose at all, and its smoke and fragrance soon dissipate. Our prayers are like that, because they seem to accomplish little and they soon vanish, but God likes the smell of them.” (Elliot, Elisabeth. Be Still My Soul. Grand Rapids, MI.: Revell, 2003.)
What makes our prayers smell sweet to God?
- Prayer Offered in the Name of Jesus — “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that confess his name (Hebrews 13:15).” The book of Hebrews describes how Christ came as the fulfillment of the Old Testament prophecies of a coming Messiah. His perfect atoning sacrifice on the cross put an end to the need for the Old Testament system of sacrifices, as His death and resurrection opened the way into the very presence of God (see Hebrews 9:13-10:23). The book of Ephesians calls this amazing act of love “a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Ephesians 5:2, ESV). We can pray because Jesus opened the way!
- Prayer of Repentance — After the prophet Nathan confronted King David with his sins of adultery with Bathsheba and themurder of her husband, Uriah, David acknowledged his sin and repented with deep humility. Psalm 51 records his prayer for God’s mercy, forgiveness and cleansing. “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise (Psalm 51:17, NIV).”
- Prayer of Faith—“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him (Hebrews 11:6, ESV).” Our Father is pleased when His children trust Him. “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him (1 John 5:14-15, ESV).”
- Prayer of Humility/Surrender—Jesus offers the supreme example of this type of prayer, as we hear Him pray the ultimateprayer of surrender in the Garden of Golgotha the night before His crucifixion. “And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying ‘My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.’” (Matthew 26:39, ESV).
- Prayer for God’s Glory to be Displayed —“Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me (Psalm 50:14-15, NIV).” Elijah prayed thistype of prayer as he stood on Mount Carmel and faced the prophets of Baal. “And it came to pass, at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near and said, ‘Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word. Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again’ (1 Kings 18:36, NKJV).”
- Prayer of Thanksgiving and Praise — God loves to hear us praise Him! “The one who offers thanksgiving as his sacrifice glorifies me; to one who orders his way rightly I will show the salvation of God!” (Psalm 50:23, ESV).
Need a break from Spring Cleaning? Take a deep breath and breathe out a prayer!
Join us in praying for the following events in May:
MAY 2016 EVENTS
All seminars in 2016 are free (lodging and meal fees apply.)
(For more information or to register, click on the links below.)
Senior Celebration :The Church in the Last Days
with Don Wilton — May 16-18
An Evening at The Cove : Dinner, Concert & Meet and Greet
with Mark Schultz —May 22
Intensive Bible Training: Acts of the Apostles, Acts for You
with Mark Yarbrough — May 23-27
Military Marriage Retreat: Back to the Basics
with Michael Easley — May 27-29
Note: Entire package (program, meals, and lodging) is free to active-duty military. Click on link to complete application.
Thank you for praying!
The beauty of the spring season is upon us and a wonderful reminder that our Creator, Almighty God, brings new life to all who seek His face.
With spring in mind and Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 8th, 2016) right around the corner, we’re sharing some lovely seasonal products from Ruth’s Attic Bookstore at The Cove. Whether you purchase in person, or call and have us deliver right to your home, we hope you will find something that will delight you, or be the perfect gift for someone special in your life.
Each of these products are great reminders of how God shows His love, mercy, and grace to us each and every day.
To order any of the products seen on this post, you may either purchase on-property at Ruth”s Attic bookstore, by phone at 1-800-950-2092 (menu 3) or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To see a full list of events at The Cove, click here.
God bless you!