The preacher stood at the podium, knowing precisely what we needed to hear on this rainy Sunday morning. We needed encouragement, hope and peace. Plus a good dose of common sense. So speak, Lord. Please.
This was the Sunday after the shooting tragedy in Newtown, Connecticut. Yet everywhere hearts were heavy and confused. The sky was falling down, it seemed, and the world was coming apart. Or that's how it felt in this little Houston church we were visiting. Even the skies were crying. A heavy, Texas rain pounded the pavement outside. We were drenched, cold, and in need of consolation. So speak, Lord. Please.
As if in reply, here stood this Houston preacher. Kind of aging. Kind of ordinary. No fancy microphone. No sophisticated message. Just confidence in God. So he urged us to do the confident thing: pray.
Then pray again. Then keep praying. Morning by morning. Evening by evening. Tell God our frustrations. Believe he can hear them—and can do something about it all. That kind of praying, said this common-sense preacher, is how we find power to face and overcome fear.
It was this kind of prayer that had brought me to this church in the first place. My husband and I were in Houston visiting our youngest daughter and her husband, who were expecting another baby. The pregnancy wasn't going smoothly. During an ultrasound at week 18, doctors found something abnormal in the baby's brain. Some "spots," or "markers," my daughter explained, signifying possible genetic abnormalities in the fetus.1