prayer power “Hope and a future”

By Mervyn Morelock, Lt. Colonel

“Plans to give you hope and a future” (Jer. 29:11).

You and I are not all that different from Katherine Ann Power. We have all sinned. We may try to conceal it, rationalize it or ignore it, but Jesus—our gentle, loving gracious God—persists.

The difference in the good news of Jesus is that we do not have to face justice—we have God’s mercy; we are declared “guiltless.” The penalty was paid for us by Jesus on the cross.

What marks the difference in the life of those who trust God is that they have a newly kindled spirit of hope, hope that when God said he would answer prayer, he does!

Faith is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see (Heb. 11:1).

It’s a wonderful thing to have hope. The people you see who have a happy, peaceful spirit are those who have hope. Hope is an essential spirit we must all possess to survive.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu once said, “Hope is fundamental to the way we, as Christians, live out our lives.” I tend to agree with him because I know that when my hope fades, or even shifts, I’m walking on sinking sand.

In a time when we are bombarded with messages of fear and despair, hope is crucial. Job testified: “Though He slay me, yet will I have hope in him” (Job 13:15 NIV). Hope fuels our thoughts, inspires our actions and ultimately brings change.

One of the key elements of prayer is hope.

My mailbox keeps getting filled with messages of fear. The economy, war in the Middle East, the effects of the recession, cancer, HIV, gun control, Obamacare, the trafficking of innocent people, etc. The list goes on and on. If I did not have an abiding trust in God, a confidence in his sovereignty, mercy, love and forgiveness, life would be dreary and impossible.

It is prayer that keeps hope alive.

Some time ago, the editorial page of our Phoenix newspaper carried a story called “In from the cold.” The article told the story of Katherine Ann Power, a notorious Vietnam era radical, who had turned herself into the police. After 23 years, the FBI had taken her off their Most Wanted list. Her parents believed she was dead. For 23 years she had used the name Alice Metzinger. She became a cooking instructor, married and raised a son, and lived quietly in Oregon.

Then, after 23 years in hiding, she turned herself in.

Why did she come forward after all those years?

The therapist who treated her diagnosed her as having “a lifelong condition of endogenous clinical depression.” Life for Alice had become unbearable; there was no hope.

“A lifelong condition of endogenous clinical depression”—that’s a clinical name for guilt, unforgiven sin, carrying a secret past, the fear of discovery and an overwhelming feeling of being powerless, hopeless.

After 23 years this woman had to come clean, face her past and accept whatever would be the result. She had come to a place where she found “hope” for a guilt-free life.

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope. 1 Peter 1:3 talks about an uplifting hope that is experienced when we accept the love and forgiveness of Jesus. As followers of Jesus, we’re called to realize God’s power to forgive sin, and to accept our living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.

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