Teach Us to Pray

Sunday, July 28

7-28By Andrew Bolton, Council of Twelve Apostles

“So I say to you, Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.”

—Luke 11:9–10

I was 8 years old when I started to pray to God to make Dad better. We had lost the farm because our debts were too great. For the first time I heard my parents arguing. It puzzled me at first. Later I was afraid and sick to my stomach.

Worst of all, Dad drank, especially Tuesdays and Fridays, when he went shopping in a neighboring town. He would stop at the pub on the way home. He was always horrible after drinking. Always bad-tempered, often sarcastic. Sometimes he would hit my brothers. I prayed for five or six years.

Then one Tuesday, a cold, wet English day, Dad was later coming home. This usually meant he had been drinking longer and would be even worse when he returned. I hurried to complete my jobs for the night–feeding the hens, getting logs for the greenhouse boiler, and more. I then decided to go to my bedroom and be out of the way when Dad came home.

I got to the kitchen, and to my surprise Dad was already home. He was sober and speaking gently to my mother. Relieved, I went to bed.

On Friday Dad came home sober, again. The next Tuesday, Dad was sober. This continued. I began to do better in school. Dad became the gentle father I remembered from when I was younger. Our family began to do better financially. The tension in my mother eased. We were all happier.

How was my prayer answered? My mother later told me she met with Dad’s doctor, who then confronted Dad. At the right moment, God opened the door to sobriety for my father and brought hope and healing to my family. God answered my prayers.

I am still grateful.

Prayer for Peace
Open-door God, we praise you for being present for us. Let us never be the cause of the door closing. May we knock and ask continually. May we seek you and never stop sharing the peace of Christ we find with you.

Spiritual Practice: Healing for Broken Spirits
Begin with quiet prayer. Ask God to help you discern some “sore places” in the body of Christ and in God’s creation. Become aware of people who feel separated, wounded, or left out.

Reflect on or write a short journal entry of healing words to at least one person who comes to mind. Ask God for words that will touch this person’s broken spirit like healing ointment. Keep this person in your heart and prayers today and act on any ideas that come to bring blessing and wholeness.

Peace Covenant
Today, God, I will not hesitate to knock and ask through prayers.

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1 Comment

  1. Vera Entwistle

     /  28 July 2013

    Andrew, I was touched by your life story. I, too, had a dad who drank, only my dad became sad and weepy when drunk. At Christmas time he would come out of his shell long enough to sing the only two songs he knew…The Tennessee Waltz and Jerusalem. To this day those songs reduce me to tears. My life fell apart when my dad committed suicide. And yet out of sadness can come good. His suicide was the thing that motivated me to work with kids with cancer. Like you, dear brother, we both “came a long way baby.” God bless.

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