Thanks to Hurricane Florence, flooding is on most of our minds just now. Evidently, however, flooding in North Carolina has been happening for a very long time. In the children’s book, Asking Father, we read of how God used a flood to answer prayer! Many years ago, a group of believers wanted to build a church in downtown Swan Quarter, NC. but the owner of the building lot refused to sell it to them because he knew a business would be willing to pay more money. The believers reluctantly built their wooden, whiteboard Church on the edge of town. During a flash flood, however, this little building was lifted from its foundations. It floated downtown, landing on the disputed building site. The owner acknowledged the hand of God in this situation and let the church remain. Asking Father contains other encouraging stories of answered prayer, written especially for children.
Everything in Order!
Manuscripts everywhere–three hundred and sixty-five of them–on the table, on every chair, and even, if I remember correctly, on the floor! My mother was the personification of order, so why, I wondered had she allowed these papers to remain all over our tiny living-room for hours if not for several days? Even the best of memories fade somewhat after sixty-five years or more, so some of the details of that morning may not be absolutely correctly relayed. But I can remember, vividly, asking my parents the question: “Why aren’t you putting away these papers? They’ve stayed there for ages.”
I don’t know what answer I was expecting, certainly not the one I received. “We’ve left them there,” my parents replied, “because we’re praying over them.”
That answer puzzled me at first. Not that I wasn’t used to our family praying over everything—my problems at school with bullies, my father’s Sunday sermons, church conflicts, financial needs—everything and anything was brought to God. But manuscripts? I didn’t understand.
“These manuscripts,” they continued, “are readings for every day of the year, so there are 365 of them. They are on different subjects—prayer, the importance of the Bible, suffering, missionaries, and many more. We are asking God to help us arrange them so that, in the future, those who read them will find something special to help them on that particular day.”
That made sense and I was satisfied. Order does count. How you arrange things was important, at least to our family it was.
I must have been around eight or nine at the time and I forgot all about the incident for a long while. The manuscripts were eventually put into book form and The Christian’s Daily Challenge came into being. Then, some years later, my parents began to receive letters from around the globe, telling not just that people had been blessed through reading the book but that, when they had been facing some crisis in their lives, the reading for that particular day had seemed written just for them. When I heard this, something clicked! I saw myself as a perplexed eight-year-old, staring at the 365 manuscripts that had invaded the privacy of our home.
Something still clicks, so much so that I am going to go right now to our website and see what the reading is for today. It is entitled “The Microscope of Love. “Don’t wait for tomorrow”; advises Frances Ridley Havergal. Take this day, the morning hours past, the evening ones to come, and apply this microscope, and see if you don’t find you are walking in the midst of miracles of love, and that all things are for your sakes.” Now that advice, I’m pretty sure, is relevant to every one of us! Check out these daily readings on our site. I think you’ll find it worth your while!
Trudy Harvey Tait
I thought that perhaps some of you who have read Edwin and Lillian Harvey’s books might like to know how it all began, or, to be more accurate, how “they” all began. Well, three hundred pounds, a sympathetic printing establishment called “Nelson and Knox” in Northern Ireland, and a few grains of mustard seed faith which, our Lord said, could remove mountains, and you pretty much have the origin of what we now know as “Harvey Christian Publishers.” Well, this is not quite accurate. Without a profusion of material from the extensive files that Lillian had slowly accumulated over the years, Harvey Publishers might never have come into being. The material in these files had already provided inspiration for the periodical The Message of Victory which Edwin and Lillian jointly edited. But although this little magazine had a circulation of thousands within the British Isles, they felt the time had come to produce inspired reading in a more permanent form—a daily reading book with quotations from godly men and women from various denominations and cultures. They would call it The Christian’s Daily Challenge. True, there were other daily devotionals on the market, but this book would be unique. It would unite the voices of saints of all ages and denominations in one grand challenge to godly living!
So, the material was there and the vision, but what about the finance? It was post war Britain. Life was not easy. Rationing was at its height and money was scarce. Edwin and Lillian were leaders of the Metropolitan Mission with British headquarters in Glasgow. They had enough money to live on, but that was all. Well, not quite. They had saved up over the years by going to auctions, buying up canned goods, and reselling them for a small profit to the kitchen staff at the mission’s Bible School.A few pennies here, a few shillings there, and three hundred pounds had been accumulated!
With many of the readers of their periodical in Northern Ireland, Edwin and Lillian had contacted a Christian printer there who was shocked when these novice authors announced they wished to print ten thousand copies of their first book! The printer informed them that they were either utterly crazy or people of tremendous faith! He must have decided on the latter and informed these naïve adventurers that he would allow them to print in installments. So they placed their hard-earned three hundred pounds in the printer’s hands, sold their first batch of books, and then paid for the next batch with money from these sales. A traveling salesman saw the book and decided he wanted to distribute it. And he did. The books spread over the British Isles. Thousands were eventually sold and blessed many readers all over the world. The name of this first book? The Christian’s Daily Challenge!
“The great battles,” says Samuel L. Brengle, “the battles that decide our destiny and the destiny of generations yet unborn, are not fought on public platforms, but in the lonely hours of the night and in moments of agony.”
God sets more value on prayer and communion than labor. The heavenly bridegroom is wooing a wife, not hiring a servant. Prayer brings God out of His secret place to work wonders in the earth . . . to pour Himself through the believer into a world of lost souls.
—A. W. Roffe.
We must remember that it was not by interceding for the world in Glory that Jesus saved it. He gave Himself. Our prayers for the evangelization of the world are but a bitter irony so long as we give only of our superfluity, and draw back before the sacrifice of ourselves.
—M. Francois Collard.
Last night I had a unique experience. I awoke intensely oppressed and as I lay under the dead weight of it, it dawned on me that it meant I was to pray, so I got to work to pray for the men who have just gone off to the fighting line, and in a marvelous way the oppression left and peace ineffable came, and the words emerged, “A house of prayer for all nations.” It is a good thing to stake your confidence on the ground of the perfected Redemption and pray from that basis.
In the book, Kneeling We Triumph Volume One compiled by Edwin and Lillian Harvey, there is a reading entitled “The beauty of delayed answers.” In this reading, the authors have included a moving prayer uttered by the blind poet and hymn-writer, George Matheson and author of that well-known hymn, “O love that will not let me go”:
“My Father, help me to learn that I am heir to possessions which exceed my present holding! They exceed my present power to hold—they are waiting for my summer. Do I ever thank Thee for the blessings which Thou postponest? I am afraid not. I am like the prodigal: I want to get all at once the portion that falleth to me; and, where it is not given, I deem it is refused. Teach me, O Lord, the beauty of Thy delayed answers.”
In the book Kneeling We Triumph Volume One, compiled by Edwin and Lillian Harvey, there is a reading entitled “Bitterness hinders prayer.” I think most of us are aware of this fact as it is reiterated in Scripture as A. B. Simpson points out:
“Job had to pray for his very enemies before God could turn his captivity, and had to banish from his heart every particle of bitter feeling towards the men who had tormented him through months of sickness, with their ignorance, misconstruction, and offensive interference. And when he did, God turned his captivity and restored him to more than his former blessings (Job. 42:10).
We, as Christians, often hold a distorted conception of faith which is far from the Biblical original. In Kneeling We Triumph Volume One, Edwin and Lillian Harvey have brought many aspects of prayer to our attention. One of these is the necessity of a total faith in God and in His promises to us which is a prerequisite to effectual prayer. The following quotations, taken from the writings or sermons of God’s saints, emphasize this truth:Continue reading...
We sometimes limit prayer to words we mouth to God through our lips. “The prayers of upright Christians are without ceasing,” Martin Luther tells us, “though they pray not always with their mouth, yet their hearts do pray continually; for the sigh of a true Christian is prayer.”Continue reading...
“The world is enough to busy us, not to fill us,” says Thomas Watson. If this is true, then why are we Christians often so busy and so empty? Why do we prefer the hubbub of activity to silence? Or to put it more forcibly: why are we so fearful of silence? Are we afraid of God’s voice which we can sometimes only hear when other voices are hushed? Or are we unwilling to confront our own thoughts which take control when we are quiet? Or do we wish to drown out our accusing conscience which takes advantage of the quiet? Whatever the reasons, over-busyness often prevents us communing with the Almighty, and is therefore an enemy to the healing power that silent meditation and prayer inevitably works in our hectic lives.Continue reading...