Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions.
Iran is a dangerous place, especially in times of war. And in recent years we have seen and heard about terrible losses of life. Let me tell you about one such incident that took place on 24 April 1980.
It was out in the Iranian desert about 100 miles from the capital Tehran. President Jimmy Carter had ordered Delta Force into a rescue operation—52 American diplomats were being held hostage at the US embassy.
The night before two helicopters had stopped to refuel. But disaster hit as the two helicopters collided after refuelling. It was a terrible accident. Immediately there was an eruption; a fireball exploded with so much fuel the fire engulfed one of the planes. Jim Doylon was the leader of the Delta Force operation and witnessed it from the ground. He felt the heat and saw pieces of metal flying across the desert. Jim is a committed Christian, and suddenly he felt God’s presence in a dramatic way.
What could he do? Forty-five of his men were trapped inside the wreckage. No way out—no chance to survive the intense fire. And as their leader, Jim stood there helplessly. Eighteen hours earlier, Jim Doylon had stood with his men at an air force base in Egypt, and he prayed out loud for his men, for God’s protection. But this day was different.
He felt the fear his men would all be incinerated in the inferno. Jim was desperate—all he could do was pray: “Oh God. Please spare them. They trusted you. In Jesus name bring them out alive God. I’m asking you not to let these good men die.” It was Jim’s 10-second prayer. It was all he could do. They needed a miracle. No time for fancy words. They needed a miracle now!
Suddenly the right troop door of the C-130 Hercules opened. And through the flames Jim Doylon could see his men jumping one by one, running out into the desert. His 10-second prayer was answered, “Thank you Lord—You are so awesome”. It’s a remarkable true story.
Does God answer a 10-second prayer? Yes, He does. And it’s worth thinking about.
God hears all prayer—long and short
Thank God he answered that desperate prayer in the Iran desert. But he also hears your 10-second prayer every day. I believe that many people have trouble spending long blocks of time in prayer. Years ago someone once said, I have so much to do today I’ll have to spend the first three hours in prayer, or the devil will get the victory.
Really? Can you spend three hours-a-day in prayer? I can’t do that. Not sure in today’s hectic lifestyle that many can. So we give up—but we can be sincere with a 10-second prayer, and because God is a God of love and understanding, he hears this short prayer. Ten seconds is better than no seconds.
The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5:17, “Pray without ceasing”, or to put it in simple terms “pray constantly”. Easier said than done. Prayer is something that should be a part of our lives daily throughout the day. We should pray when we wake up, go to sleep, and many times in between. Even if you and I don’t have a lot of time to pray, God still wants to hear us.
If you struggle with this area of life, here is the answer. Think of God throughout the day, starting when you wake up, Lord, thank you for a good night’s sleep. I give you today whatever happens, Amen.
Christians have used this technique for centuries. Books have been written about the practice (The Way of a Pilgrim).
As Christian pastor and author Rick Warren described it in his best-selling book The Purpose-Driven Life:
“You choose a brief sentence or a simple phrase that can be repeated in one breath…Pray it as often as possible, so it is rooted deep in your heart.”
Why should you be bothered at all? Rick Warren has written:
“The more you pray, the less you’ll panic. The more you worship, the less you worry. You’ll feel more patient and less pressured.”
The privilege of talking to God
Prayer is one of the greatest privileges God has given us. We can come straight into the presence of God at anytime, anywhere. We don’t need a church or prayer room, nor do we have to wear anything special. We come as we are, and speak to a Heavenly Father who loves to hear us.
Can I remind you, prayer is a conversation with God. You don’t need to use special words or a special voice. You can pray out loud or silently. God knows what you think and is aware of all you do. You can talk to him about anything.
Open minded? You don’t have to have a problem to pray. Many people simply want to know if there is something that can make sense of life. You are open minded and willing to check things out. Pray for seven days and discover the adventure of a lifetime: getting to know God! This week could open your mind to new possibilities.
Something missing? Even with a full life, we can feel empty inside. Some people face health scares, get stressed about money or worry about relationships. Others suffer from depression. Whatever it is, you know you could do with some help. God is good and often meets us when we reach out to him. This week you could find the help that’s been bothering you. God is very interested in your life.
Ask God to help you believe. Use your words, or you could say this:
“God, it feels a little strange talking to you, but I’m giving it a go. Perhaps you are closer than I think. If that’s true, then I’m not going to ask for a sign, but I am going to ask that you will remove anything that stops me from seeing you.”