Tag Archives: Prayer

Something New at The Cove: Ruth’s Prayer Garden

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“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.

RUTGH WITH KIDS

“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.”

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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)

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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.

Prayer Note: May

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.

Prayer Note(3)
By Donna Riesen

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/SurrenderJesus 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!

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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!

Prayer Note: April

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.

Prayer Note(3)
By Donna Riesen:

“But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly f:or it. In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness…” Romans 8:25-26a

A whiteboard is a marvelous thing. Age notwithstanding, my memory has never been good. This lifelong tendency toward forgetfulness has tripped me up so many times that I’ve taken to using little tricks to help it along. While I know there are great mobile apps for creating reminders and to-do lists, most of my tricks are decidedly old-school, like the small dry-erase board attached to the side of my refrigerator. On any given day it may hold reminders to pick up milk, dish detergent or prescription meds.

For several weeks at the beginning of this year, the top section of the whiteboard held this reminder: “Pray for Miss N.” That prayer prompt helped us to remember to pray daily for a senior adult friend from our church who was making the transition from independent living to an assisted living facility. We, along with many others, prayed often for our friend, asking God for healing and ease of transition; yet not long after she was moved to her new residence, N’s fragile health worsened, resulting in hospitalization and death.

It’s important to remember that God is faithful all the time.

Even in the midst of the loss, there were reasons to praise God for answered prayer. Her suffering did not linger for a long period, and our friend was not alone as she transitioned from this life into the presence of Christ.

After the funeral of a Christian, we can rejoice in the fact that we will see them again one day in heaven, yet it can still be hard to go through the process of erasing their name from our prayer list. After the name is removed, the memory remains and the list continues to grow. There are so many needs around us, the list need never remain empty. We simply need to ask God to help us fill in the blanks.

How blessed we are to serve an omnipotent (all-powerful) God who is not dependent upon our faulty memories or hastily scribbled whiteboard notes. When we accept His gift of salvation we are not only forgiven, we are adopted into His family. As His beloved children we can come to Him at any time and pour out our heart to Him. Because His Holy Spirit dwells within us, we can trust Him to lead and guide our thoughts as we pray.

God’s Holy Spirit is greater and more powerful than any whiteboard, sticky note or mobile app, and I pray He will make us more and more sensitive to His quiet promptings, trusting Him to show us as how we should pray.

“But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it. In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words; and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” (Romans 8:25-27)

I hope you’ll prayerfully review The Cove’s April schedule, trusting the Holy Spirit to lead you. God desires for us to come to Him with our needs, and we can trust Him to answer as we pray, guided by His Spirit in alignment with His will.

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Join us in praying for the following events in April:

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

Unwavering Faith in an Unraveling World
with Ron Hutchcraft — April 1-3

Pastors’ Institute: Jonah on the Run
with Jerry Vines — April 12-13

Living the Life You’ve Always Wanted
with Jonathan Falwell — April 18-20

An Evening at The Cove
with Jason Crabb — April 24

Leadership Renewal Retreat for Youth Pastors:
Engaging the Next Generation
with Sean McDowell & Alex McFarland — April 25-27

Thank you for praying!

 

Prayer Note: March

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.

Prayer Note(3)

By Donna Riesen

“The most important events in human history were the death and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” –Billy Graham

There are those hoping for “huge” turnouts on a certain day in March at key locations all across our country. No, I’m not referring to March 1st, “Super Tuesday.” I’m referring to an even more significant date on the calendar: Sunday, March 27th, Easter Sunday. While I am praying about results from Super Tuesday, I’m hoping that on Resurrection Sunday, churches throughout the U.S. will be filled to overflowing, both with those who know Jesus Christ and with those who need to come to know Him.

Our country is in the midst of a pivotal election year, with great issues hanging in the balance, and we as Christians should be faithful and committed to pray and to vote as God leads us. Yet even as we pray for God’s will and His blessing on our country, we acknowledge this reassuring truth: Our hope does not rest on election results, it rests on the fact of Christ’s resurrection.

While talk show hosts and political pundits make predictions and wait expectantly for exit poll results in key states, we can pray the prayer of the psalmist David, My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him” (Psalm 62:5, NKJV).

As the noontime sky darkened on a Friday afternoon outside the walls of Jerusalem 2000 years ago, the hopes and expectations of Jesus’ followers seemed to be dashed. After long centuries of waiting and praying for the arrival of the promised Messiah, the one in whom they had placed their hopes hung bleeding, hands and feet nailed to a wooden cross. How could hope survive, when the promised deliverer was dying a horrible, shameful death?  And how could a day like that ever have earned the name “Good Friday?”

We call it good because on that day, the good and holy and sinless Son of God gave His life to pay the penalty for our sin. We call it good because three days later, the stone was rolled away, the tomb was empty and death was defeated. We call it good because God’s agenda always exceeds our own expectations.

When the women went to the tomb on the Sunday morning after Christ’s crucifixion, they expected to find His cold, lifeless body sealed within a tomb. Instead, they found the stone rolled away and the grave empty, except for the linen graveclothes left behind. The angel summed it up succinctly: “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” (Luke 24:5, NIV).

Talk about exceeding expectations!

We have much to pray about in this election year, but praise God that the results of Resurrection Sunday far outweigh the results of any Super Tuesday. This is why we can pray with great hope about any situation.

As you pray for The Cove throughout the month of March, pray with a resurrection mindset. Expectations are high as we head into the month of March, with a little of everything on The Cove’s ministry schedule. We know what we’ve planned for and what we’re expecting as we review The Cove’s calendar, but what is really on God’s agenda?  Let’s remain faithful in prayer and watch for God to exceed our expectations!

“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 1:18-20, ESV).

“Now to Him who is able to do above and beyond all that we ask or think according to the power that works in us— to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3: 19-21, HCSB


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Join us in praying for the following events in March:

MARCH 2016 EVENTS
(For more information or to register, click on the links below.)

An Evening at The Cove
with Phillips, Craig & Dean, March 1

Guided Personal Spiritual Retreat
with John Parrish & Trish Lancaster, March 4-6

Exit Ramps off the Narrow Road to Life
with Larry Crabb, March 7-9

Women’s Spring Luncheon: I Want It ALL
with Gwen Smith, March 13

SeniorSalt Impact Crusade Journey Hymn Sing
with Ron Whittemore and David Gaines,  March 14

Women’s Seminar — The Larger Story: What the Christian Life is All About with Rachael Crabb, March 31-April 1

We appreciate your prayers. God bless you!

Cove Bible Verse for Week of December 8

What verse are you working on memorizing this week?


“But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and in His law he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water,
that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.” Psalms 1:2-3

Focus on Ministry Card 48

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