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My name is Cheryl
Our son-in-law, Marco, grew up in the fun-loving Reginelli family, a family who knew how praying for family needs made a massive difference. Even though they did not have a lot of money, they had a lot of good times and a lot of faith in God. They would often take road trips in the summers that were exciting adventures.
One year the Reginelli family decided to take a vacation to visit relatives several states away. Pete and Lona and their five kids piled into their vehicle—the “glory van” as it was called because of the many glorious adventures the van had taken them on, including missions trips to Mexico. I’m guessing another reason for the van’s name is that it was a glory and testimony to God that the van was still running after 300,000 miles.
The nighttime sky was black and the road ahead dark. Some of the kids were sleeping while Pete drove. Suddenly there was a crash and a jolt—the van had collided with an unseen formidable object and came to a sudden halt. No one had seen the massive deer. Pete got out of the car to assess the situation. Sadly, the deer did not survive and had to be left on the side of the road.
The front end of the van was severely smashed and, among other things, the radiator was busted and leaking water badly. This was before the age of cell phones, so out in the middle of nowhere, the family had no place to turn but to God. Peter and his oldest son had been reading the book Prison to Praise by Merlin Carothers about the power released through praising God all the time—even in the midst of challenging circumstances.
So Pete and his son decided to put this principle into practice. Pete drove slowly as the van hobbled down the road, everyone praising and thanking God for His faithfulness and that He was bigger than any problem.
They came across a farmhouse where the residents gave them water for the radiator and told them about a campground just down the road. The next morning when they registered for the campground, the host couple offered to take them to church. Pete stayed behind to deal with the van.
As he disassembled the damaged parts and laid them neatly on the grass, he wondered where he would be able to find a mechanic, much less the needed parts. Soon he heard that firefighters were having a barbeque at the campgrounds that day and the only mechanic in the entire area would be there.
“I can find a fan and fan clutch,” the mechanic told Pete as he assessed the situation. “But the radiator will have to come from another city and it will take at least a week to get it.”
Later, the local pastor, since he had met the family at the morning’s service and was concerned, drove to the campground to see how he could help. As Pete explained the problem, the pastor walked around the vehicle looking at the damage. After a few minutes, he looked up.
“I have a similar van,” he said. “I don’t know why, but when the engine blew up I saved the radiator. It’s sitting on my back porch!” He drove off and returned shortly with the exact radiator needed. The next morning the “glory van” was back on the road with a few more dents—but everyone thanked and praised God.
Our good friend, Cindy Jacobs, tells of a time when her family was in great need. Cindy’s husband, Mike, had been laid off from his airline job. They were young, had a child to support, and had just bought their first home. Things were looking bleak.
They took a road trip to visit family for Christmas but remained anxious throughout the holidays about their future. What are we going to do when we get back home? How will we pay our bills? Will we have to sell the house? The questions kept flooding their thoughts.
On the drive home, Cindy was inspired with a thought: She and Mike should stop worrying and start praising—and they did that all the way home. They thanked the Lord for His faithful provision, His love and His mercy. They thanked Him for their salvation, and then they drove for miles into the night, praising the Lord.
When they arrived home, nothing had changed. Mike still had no job and their bank account was nearly empty. However, they realized that they were no longer fixated on their dire circumstances. Instead, they had become re-focused on the greatness of God and His overflowing blessings in their lives.
Soon Mike received a phone call from an airline, and after he interviewed, he was offered a position.
Marco and his family discovered a powerful principle about praying for family needs: Take your eyes off the bigness of the problem and fix them on the greatness of God.
When Jesus was teaching His disciples to pray, do you remember how He began? “Our Father …” He started with God—not the problem.
I love what Mark Buchannan has to say about this in his bestselling book The Rest of God: “Are you in the midst of a situation where, as you pray, you find yourself putting the problem first? If so, you’re starting where you should end. You’re rehearsing the problem, making it seem larger than it is, when what you need to do is rehearse God’s greatness and bigness. Then the problem shrinks to its right portions … Today when you pray, start with God. Survey what he has made. Recite what he has done. Proclaim who he is.”
Cindy and Mike didn’t realize at the time that their praises were actually a form of intercessory prayer. Even though Mike had been looking diligently for a job, he had been having no success. However, when they started praising God together, His promises were activated: “Let them praise His name in chorus and choir and with the [single or group] dance; let them sing praises to him with the tambourine and lyre! For the Lord takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with salvation and adorn the wretched with victory” (Psalm 149:3–4 AMPC).
“Many people stop praising and thanking God when they face adversity, but this is not the time to stop—it’s the time to start,” says Cindy.
Cheryl Sacks is the best-selling author of The Prayer Saturated book series: The Prayer Saturated Church, Prayer-Saturated Kids, and The Prayer Saturated Family—How to Change the Atmosphere in Your Home through Prayer. Her newest book, Reclaim a Generation, 21 Days of Prayer for Schools, will be available soon at ReclaimAGeneration.com
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