The following is an excerpt from “Do Not Grow Weary in Prayer and Fasting,” written faithfully each week for nearly 10 years by Jerry Hale, Spiritual Emphasis Committee Chair for the Growing and Building Campaign.
“Don’t forget to pray!” That thought has been on my mind the past few days as I have been caught up in any number of interesting projects that I have let keep me from my time alone with the Lord. I always “pray through the day,” but it bothers me when I start progressing through the day without sitting down with the scriptures for a time of undistracted communication with the Lord.
“We didn’t pray!” Those were the words of a 15-year-old Chinese cadet as our group of five American visitors sat down to a full-course Chinese meal hosted by his family at their private club on the outskirts of Beijing. At young Wang Zhaoji’s urging, I asked God’s blessing on our meal while his parents and grandmother dutifully folded their hands and bowed their heads. (I hadn’t actually forgotten to pray, but since we were guests I did not want to impose my customs on the family). Later, I asked Wang about this, wondering if they were Christians and I had missed that. “No,” he said, “but I told my family you were the Chaplain and we needed to have you pray before the meal.”
I haven’t always been comfortable with expressing outward appearances of Christianity, but these days I am much more at ease with discussing matters of faith with all people. Perhaps it is because people know I am a Chaplain and they expect me to talk about faith in the Lord. Actually, I was very hesitant to take on the role of Chaplain at our school 5 years ago. I was concerned that people would either marginalize me or discount me in that role. While that has been the case with some people, I now realize that it was really a “pride” issue with me and today I gladly take on the Chaplain mantel.
“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” (I Thessalonians 5:16-18).