There are so many wonderful gifts that God gives us as we follow Him! I wrote earlier about the gift of the Word, which Jesus both brought to us (speaking the Words of the Father) and became for us (obeying and embodying the Word completely). This Word is precious: so much so, that the apostles in Acts later gave themselves "continually to prayer and to the ministry of the Word," saying it would be "undesirable to leave the Word of God." (Acts 6:4).
We are challenged in 1 Peter 2:2 to "desire the pure milk of the Word, that you may grow thereby." 2 Peter says to "be mindful" of the Word, since by the Word the heavens and earth were created and are preserved. (2 Peter 3:2, 5, & 7). We know that when the Word is preached, the Gospel multiplies exponentially. (see Acts 8:4) Today, I'd like to look at the Word as it relates to prayer, and share with you a fun, real-life story to illustrate its power.
Some of you know that our family is believing God for a home with more land, specifically to raise livestock. We have been "frustrated farmers" for a while, having a vision for a farm and slowly working toward the fulfillment of that dream. Two months ago, by a small miracle, we obtained both a coop and fencing, along with feeding and watering supplies, for a mere $10. We began to pray that God would also give us chickens for our coop. Within 24 hours, we had a small flock of four chicks called "Easter Eggers," known for the colorful eggs they lay in shades of blue and green. We were amazed at God's quick provision!
The boys have needed no reminders to care for their new "pets" daily, feeding and watering them, and our oldest son has taken on quite a fatherly role towards these birds, repairing the fencing as needed and becoming sweetly protective of the flock. Interestingly, our family devotional reading around this time was on the biblical book of Jonah, which ends by mentioning God's concern for both people and livestock (see Jonah 4:11).
As you can see from the photos, "Sprinkles," one of our chickens, is very social, and decided one day to fly the coop. I found her standing boldly in the front yard, a triumphant twinkle in her eyes, as if to say, "Look at me! I'm hot stuff!" I quickly picked up my escape artist and put her back in the coop.
But several days later, she found her way out again, this time at dusk, and although we searched the neighborhood with flashlights for her, we could not find her before dark. We closed up the other chickens in the coop and went inside to pray.
I reminded the kids of the Jonah scripture, and of Psalm 91, in which the faithful abide in God's shadow and are covered under the feathers of His wings, for refuge. (Psalm 91:1-4). This scripture says His truth is like a shield and buckler, and we knew Sprinkles needed both a shield and a safe place to hide if she was to survive the predators of the night! Using these Words, we prayed fervently for her return.
Ephesians 6:17 says that the Sword of the Holy Spirit IS the Word (in fact, every piece of the armor is Christ, the Word), and so to pray in the Spirit is to pray with the Word. Hebrews 4:12-13 describes this same sword as exceedingly sharp and powerful, and says that nothing is hidden from His sight. Since the Word is JESUS, and the chief responsibility of the Spirit is to glorify Jesus, then our most effective and fruitful prayers will always be those that are based on the Word Himself.
Our family knew enough of the Word to see that God's care could extend even to our livestock. But what God wants us to know is that His care for us is so much greater than His care for the birds!
The next morning, we all went outside looking for Sprinkles. We hoped that she had somehow hidden herself from the coyotes and foxes and hawks so prominent in our area. But she was nowhere to be found. Several days went by, and I feared she had been carried off and eaten by another animal. We checked with our neighbors but no one had seen her.
Now here's the funny part. Sprinkles was lost on a Tuesday. A prophetic three days later, the same amount of time Christ was "hidden" in the tomb, there was a knock at our back door. A neighborhood policeman was there, asking if we had found Sprinkles yet. On his way out to work, he had found a chicken roaming his front porch! My youngest son and I raced over, and sure enough, there she was! We were beyond excited, and truly amazed that she had been protected for so long. What an answer to prayer! It was a real faith-builder for all of us.
One of the wonderful gifts God has given you is a "Word-Sword." You do not need to know the Bible by heart to wield this sword; you just need a Scripture to stand on for each situation you face. You can be like the Bereans of Acts 17:11, searching the Scriptures daily to find out whether the Word really works! More powerful than David's stone, your spoken "Word-Sword" will penetrate the heavens to accomplish the will of Christ in the earth. The Word never fails to accomplish what it is sent to do!
Matthew 23:37 says God wants to gather us under His wings, like a hen with her chicks. If He will do that for a lost chicken, He will care for you!
Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor
gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them.
Are you not of more value than they?
~ Matthew 6:26
c. Deborah Perkins, 2014. All Biblical references NKJV
To read more about Deborah's chickens, click here: What Some Desperate Chickens Taught Me About Desperate Prayers
Deborah Perkins enjoys life on her mini-homestead with her hubby, three wonderful boys, a cat, and a growing flock of chickens. You can find her online at HisInscriptions.
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A severe hearing loss from childhood caused Deborah Perkins to develop what she now calls her secret weapon: tuning in to God's voice. A Wellesley College graduate and an award-winning writer, Deborah is now a wife and mother of 3 boys. Deborah has devoted over 25 years to professional and lay Christian ministry in New England and beyond. Her passion is inspiring people to cultivate greater intimacy with God.