Pastor’s Perspective 11-26-19

I had the privilege this past weekend to lead a marriage retreat for military couples of all branches of service at the Billy Graham Training Center in Asheville, commonly known as The Cove. There were couples there from 20 states as far away as California and Puerto Rico. With my military background and ministry as a chaplain to soldiers and their families for over 20 years, I have always had a special place in my heart for this population. I understand the unique challenges they face in their calling to serve our nation and the extra toll it can take on their marriages. It was both a privilege and a joy to love on and encourage them.

This was my 9th visit to The Cove. I spent a week there during my sabbatical as I know of no other place that would better enable me to recharge my battery spiritually for the ministry to which God has called me. It is a very special place to me. I realized something about myself this past weekend that I had not noticed before. I pray differently when I am at The Cove. I’ve been praying my whole life. But I was consciously aware during and after my time there this past weekend that I pray differently when I am physically present at The Cove.

When I’m at the hospital, my prayers are focused on specific health needs. When I am in counseling, my prayers are focused on the individuals concerned and the issues they are facing. When I pray with my young grandchildren, I am conscious of modeling for them how to pray. When I woke up back at home Monday morning, my prayers gravitated to my family and the ministry opportunities of this short week. But when I am at The Cove, I find myself praying with a much bigger perspective. Of course I prayed for the sessions I was leading and the couples in attendance, but my focus was on the eternal purposes of God. I found myself thanking Him for the life and ministry of Billy Graham, the major ministries of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association today, and the existence of a training center that is singularly focused on teaching the Word of God and training people how to share the Gospel. As I prayed for myself and my ministry, I did so within the much larger context of what God is doing in the world today. It is the proper perspective for our prayers. I am grateful for all of the blessings of this past weekend, not the least of which is a greater perspective on prayer.

See you Sunday! ~ John