Don’t allow your circumstances to affect your praise and prayers to God.
when all your soul
a tiptoe stands
in wistful eagerness
to talk with God;
put out your hands,
God bends to hear;
it would be sin
not to draw near.
when gray inertia
creeps through your soul,
as through a man
who fights the cold,
then growing languid
it is death.
with sin and shame
and nowhere else
to pin the blame
but your own will
God knows you,
loves you nonetheless.
From Sitting By My Laughing Fire by Ruth Bell Graham.
Do you have questions about your new faith in God?
We want to help you answer them and grow in your faith.
On Saturday, January 11th 2014, The Cove will host a FREE one-day seminar (9am-4pm) just for you. A complimentary lunch will be served too!
What will be covered?
· Is the Bible really God’s Word? How do I use it?
· How do I talk to God? Does prayer work?
· How do I find a church?
· What’s my purpose in life?
Call 1-800-950-20920 to reserve your place today.
Already strong in your faith, but know some who are not? Share this with your friends, come along with them. Don’t let this opportunity for someone to know God better pass by.
Watch here as Darren Thomas, program manager at The Cove talks about what you can expect if attending this seminar.
Visit TheCove.org to learn more about our ministry and what’s going on in 2014.
Today is Billy Graham’s 95th birthday!
Help Mr. Graham celebrate this special day by tuning into his powerful new message, titled The Cross. For local and national listings, click here.
Please share, tell a friend and most importantly, pray!
This week was International Housekeepers Week. A time set aside to recognize those serving as professional housekeepers all over the world. They are working in hospitals, hotels, state facilities, schools and colleges, and conference and retreat centers like The Cove.
We are so very grateful for the faithful service of our housekeepers right here at The Cove!
They have a heart to serve God and it shows. Each room they tend to, is prayed over, as they work. Time and again, our guests tell us they can feel these prayers.
To professional housekeepers, in every corner of the world, we thank you for taking care of us! We thank you for caring about the details. May God bless you.
If you have a chance, please bless someone in this field with a kind word, a prayer or a special note of thanks.
Click here to read more about the prayer that takes place at The Cove before our guests set foot on the property.
By Will Graham
Has God ever laid something on your heart that has motivated you to go out of your way to minister to somebody or to a group of people? You simply have a burden for them that orders your steps and directs your actions?
God has done that in my life, and has given me a special burden for specific areas of the world. One of the countries to which He has directed my heart is Kenya. He has instilled in me a huge desire to preach to the Kenyan people the message of love, hope and peace that only He can bring.
Just yesterday I returned to my office and responsibilities at The Cove after holding a three-day evangelistic “Celebration of Peace” in Kisumu, Kenya, a city in which my grandfather preached some 53 years ago. Our event was held at the Jomo Kenyatta Sports Ground.
This beautiful little patch of field was very humble by American standards, and most days it serves as a sort of thoroughfare, with people crisscrossing it to and from work or the market. But for these three days, that area was holy ground where people repented of their sins and claimed a new life – an everlasting hope – in Christ Jesus.
My friends, Kisumu is a beautiful place, but not an easy place to live. It is largely poverty-stricken, with many people seeking escapes through alcohol or glue sniffing. Children run the streets with no parents. It was one of the main epicenters of post-election violence a few years ago. One of our local volunteers told us that the rest of Kenya views Kisumu as one of the country’s “most evil cities.”
This is not to say that Kisumu is a godless city; not by a long shot. There is an awesome remnant of churches and Christians that are praying for and actively working in their city. It was a huge blessing to our team to have involvement from every Christian church and every bishop in Kisumu for the Celebration.
So we followed God’s calling to Kisumu, and He provided the harvest! Approximately 21,000 people crowded the field over the course of the three days, and when the invitation was given to commit their lives to Christ, more than 1,350 accepted that free gift!
Street boys who spend their young lives getting high and begging for money were found in the middle of the worship, responding to the call. A passerby who hadn’t even heard the message felt suddenly urged to stop and see what was happening, and ultimately gave her life to Christ. The wife of the governor stepped forward to rededicate her life to the Lord.
I would ask you to please pray with me for the people of Kisumu, that the seeds that were planted would fall on fertile soil and grow; not on rocky or weedy soil where they will wither and die. There is much hardship in Kisumu and there will continue to be many different temptations vying for the attentions and focus of those who came forward.
We need to surround them with our prayers, and cry out to the Lord of the harvest that a new generation of believers will grow out of this event, and the city of Kisumu will forever be changed for His glory!
Thank you for your prayers and your support. God bless you!
By Joy Allmond:
As with many, personal crisis forced Christine Wyrtzen to become passionate about prayer. At yesterday’s Women’s Day Away at The Cove, her hope was to make that passion contagious by showing other women how to pray more effectively.
15 years ago, her mother was dying of cancer, and Christine began to capture her thoughts and prayers through her journal.
“That just really thrust me in a new direction of having a heart for hurting people,” she remembers. “Ever since, I have felt this great desire to assemble pieces that teach people how to pray specifically and strategically.”
Through this time in her life, God showed her how to do “personal prayer mapping,” a process that involves tracing back the origins of the things that require prayer.
In her very own words, she “equips other to understand the issues of their own souls and the souls of those they love.” She is showing women how to uniquely target those areas in prayer, and wants to see people move away from what she calls “anemic” prayers, such as:
Please change my husband and make him quit drinking.
When, through prayer mapping—tracing the roots of a soul and understanding why people engage in certain behaviors—you can pray more strategically. If this is your prayer, you could pray about the things in his heart that encourage him to excessively drink, and perhaps pray that God would remove the influences in his life that enable him to abuse the alcohol.
Or, instead of praying something like, please be with Aunt Martha who is having surgery; let her know you love her, you could pray more broadly, such as:
· Asking God to help the surgeon sleep well.
· Asking God to send angels to fill the room with light and glory.
· Asking that the surgeon’s hands become God’s hands.
“You can see that if you start thinking that way, you can easily come up with a one-to-two page customized prayer for yours or someone else’s needs,” Christine explains.
To truly understand and practice personal prayer mapping, she strongly believes we need an understanding of our enemy. She feels that in the church, we avoid talking about him and seeing his patterns.
“We need to have the eyes to see how he deceives, tempts and devour. We need to know what a stronghold is. Once women learn these things, they very quickly begin to see his fingerprints on their families in the way they struggle. Then, they are able to personalize this almost immediately.”
By the end of the day, the women at the Cove were astounded by the power of prayer and left inspired to participate in intercession more fully.
“I would love to see people who have been praying for something for 20 years—and have seen little movement—get charged by the potential of learning how to pray this way, and seeing how God is still of a God of intervention and of passivity.”
Join us for our next Women’s Day Away, Simply Irresistible: Being a Contagious Grace Giver, on May 2nd with Lisa Harper. Click here for more information and to register.
By Joy Allmond
Do you ever have trouble praying? Is it hard to know where to start, let alone pray at all? Stormie Omartian, Bible teacher and award-winning author of the Power of Praying series, will help people explore these questions and find answer at The Cove in September. Read here a little about her personal prayer journey and some prayer tips she has just for you.
As a young professional living in Hollywood and working in television, she was bound by fear, anxiety and depression that was rooted in her background as an abused child. No matter what she did, she couldn’t escape the pain.
That is, until one day, when she turned to prayer.
Someone led her to Jesus Christ, but, as for many of us, the pain didn’t instantly go away. Shortly after her conversion, she began to see a Christian counselor, who encouraged her to fast and pray over her past and the impact it would have over her present and her future.
That season of prayer and fasting dramatically transformed her life. It is because of prayer that she found freedom from the effects of her past.
“When I found absolute deliverance and freedom from depression and anxiety, I felt a burden lift. It was such a great manifestation of the power of God—I’ll never forget it. Prayer changed my life forever,” she said.
Now, she is widely known for speaking and writing about the subject of prayer, having released a series of popular books, such as The Power of a Praying Life.
“That time in my life led to find out about what God wants to do in our lives through prayer—our communicating with Him. I wanted others to understand the power of prayer, so my husband and I began to form prayer groups.”
Why Don’t We Pray More?
Many of us, although we have been walking with Christ for years, have difficulty even praying at all.
“So many of us won’t stop and pray because we don’t think we’re good enough to receive an answer. Or maybe you don’t know how to pray. Some of us are too intimidated to pray because we think we don’t have the right words—we can’t pray the same way as the pastor. We all have these doubts and fears when it comes to prayer,” she explained.
That’s why she writes the books and speaks at conferences—to help people get past their misconceptions about prayer and learn to effectively communicate with God.
Tips For Effective Communication With God
The first thing, Omartian says, is to express our gratitude for God’s faithfulness and work in our lives.
“Thank Him for everything. Praise and worship isn’t just something you do while you wait for the sermon on Sunday. It should be a way of life.
“Also, ask Him to show you if there is any sin that needs to be confessed, because unconfessed sin puts up barrier between you and God. Scripture tells us that God will not hear us if there is iniquity in our hearts,” she said.
Once we confess this, then we must ask for forgiveness, and ask Him to help us obey Him in the particular area in which we struggle.
Next, she said it’s best to keep our prayers simple.
“It doesn’t need to be complicated. Prayer can get overwhelming if you start incorporating man made rules. Just communicate your heart with God.”
She also reminds us that we should seek the will of God in our prayers—not our own.
“Ask God to lead and prompt you to pray for the things He wants in your life. Remember that He will help you pray this way if you ask Him. Be honest with Him in your prayers.”
Lastly, she says it’s very important to be in God’s Word every day.
“It helps you to pray, because it help you understand what God’s will is. You will hear the Holy Spirit more clearly if you are filling yourself with the Word of God. He will bring things alive to you as you read. And, we need to hear His voice clearly, because there are so many competing voices out there. We need to be able to isolate His voice.”
From September 4-6, she will be at The Cove, teaching others about the importance and effectiveness of prayer, and helping them transform their prayer lives.
When asked about what she wants to accomplish through her upcoming time at The Cove, she simply said, “I want people to leave praying.
“We can learn about prayer, talk about it, read about it. I want to inspire people to actually do it! I want people to understand how much God wants to accomplish through prayers, and I want it to be a dynamic in their hearts.
There is still time to make plans to join Stormie and see what God has in store for you at The Cove September 4-6! Learn more about her seminar and register by clicking here or calling 1-800-950-2092.
God is always at work in our lives. Do we see it…in good times and bad? Do we take time to thank our Creator for the blessings of each and every day? Do we praise Him in all circumstances? Do we surrender everything to Him? A couple from Kernersville, NC knows a thing or two about surrender and the power of prayer. May this beautiful story will be an encouragement to you today.
By George L. Matthews
As the tremor worsened and other symptoms began to manifest, my wife, Dianne, asked her neurologist at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center for a neurology referral for me.
He suggested Dr. Haq, in the neurology department there but told her he might be hard to see since his appointments were scheduled months in advance.
When Dianne called to see about scheduling an appointment, she was told there had been a cancellation – the very next morning, at 8 am, “Could we be there?” Is anything too hard for our God?
Over the next few months, as I underwent numerous tests, my symptoms worsened. Tests indicated polyneuropathy. We thought I had spinocerebellar ataxia, but the tests were all negative. Only one test was confirmed positive, that for paraneoplastic syndrome. But we had no idea why this syndrome was present.
In February, I began having difficulty walking. In 3 weeks time, I was able to walk only with the assistance of lofstrand crutches.
Every step was an effort.
My entire body seemed to convulse when I tried to stand.
The once self-sufficient, independent man that I had always been was reduced to needing help just getting out of bed.
It was during this time God began dealing with me regarding my absolute surrender to Him as Lord of my life.
I knew He was Savior, but did I trust Him to be Lord?
It was easy to say yes to that question when all was well.
But now, could I accept what He had allowed into my life with thanksgiving (I Thessalonians 5:18)? When I finally realized that even in the darkest places, He was Lord, I felt that “peace that passes all understanding”.
I knew that He had a purpose for this and I could trust Him.
Dr. Haq had decided that even though we still did not have a definitive diagnosis for my convulsive movements, he would admit me for a week of steroid treatments.
I would enter the hospital on June 11. Dianne had already booked a weekend seminar for us at The Cove for June 8-10 to hear Dr. Ken Boa.
How amazing that God orchestrated our time at The Cove the weekend before my hospitalization!
When we arrived for registration at The Cove, we signed up for the Interactive Sessions that were a part of the Seminar event.
I was assigned with a fabulous group of men, and Dianne with a great group of women. We were loved upon, encouraged, prayed for. We were sought out by a couple who had used a recent hospitalization to witness to the hospital staff, and encouraged me to do the same. They shared Bible verses with us.
We recognized that God had sent all these people to us this very weekend for a special purpose. The staff at The Cove was so kind and helpful, and we knew they were also praying for us. We were encouraged by Dr. Boa’s teaching.
We left The Cove on Sunday knowing we were firmly secure in God’s hand, that He was in control, and we need not fear.
On June 11, we arrived at the hospital to find out the treatment plan had changed over the weekend.
One of the physicians Dr. Haq had conferred with had found an article that suggested IVIG treatments. They started the first treatment Monday evening.
By midweek, I began standing and taking steps without my crutches.
By Thursday, I was making laps around the neurology department.
As I walked, I shared with the staff of God’s goodness; I handed out tracts to those who asked how I could be so joyous. God provided many opportunities for me to share His love during my stay.
Then, on Friday I walked out of the hospital without my crutches.
Am I cured? We don’t know.
The doctors were amazed at how well the treatment worked but can’t give a prognosis since they don’t have a definite diagnosis.
But this we do know, “we are fearfully and wonderfully made” and the Creator God does know.
It is in His hands and whatever He chooses to send, we accept. He knows what is best for us. He knew that until I was unable to manage on my own, I had reserved a part of me that was not completely surrendered to Him.
I am grateful for this time of illness, for I saw not only physical healing, but spiritual healing as well.
I felt the amazing power of prayer.
I saw how God’s timing was woven throughout the events of the past months.
I had great physicians, great medical staff to administer the treatment, all orchestrated by Him. But more importantly, we had a lot of people praying for us…our church, our family, and our friends.
How awesome is our God who walks with us, hears our cry for help, and sends people to walk through our valleys with us!!
And answers prayer!