Summary: As people of faith we need to be people of prayer but even more than that, people of breakthrough prayer, asking God to break through in situations where there is nothing else we can do. We need breakthrough prayer for our families.
This past week at Annual Conference, The Reverend Sue Nilson Kibbey, Director of Connectional Ministries for the West Ohio Annual Conference was our keynote speaker. Reverend Kibbey spoke twice during the conference. Both of her addresses were powerful and inspiring but the second, Tuesday afternoon, particularly spoke to me when she talked about prayer in general and breakthrough prayer in particular. As I listened to this talk, the basic outline for a sermon series on breakthrough prayer began to form in my mind. It has yet to fully take shape. I know it will during the next few weeks so we are going to begin moving forward with what I have thus far.
Reverend Kibbey defined breakthrough prayer as prayer asking God to break through in a particular life or situation and challenged us to pray for breakthrough situations. She challenged us to imagine what it would look like to see God sized breakthroughs in even the most difficult situations. Can you even imagine what it would look like to see God breaking through in even the most difficult situations in all our lives? I for one can give a great deal of thought to how great that would be but do you know what? No matter how vivid my imagination, God breaking through to do great things in my life and in the lives of the people I know and love would be greater than anything my imagination could arrive upon. That is because, God’s power is so much greater than human imagination. We all have our hopes and dreams but God’s plans for our lives are so much greater than what we could ever imagine. What we need to do is let go and let God take control. What we need is a breakthrough. We need to pray that God breakthrough in our lives in a mighty and powerful way.
Betty owned a small, startup horse-training farm. She took in wild mustangs that had gotten into difficulty living in the desert plains. She would then gentle them enough to be put up for adoption.
As she tried to settle one particular mustang, Harpo, named for Harpo Marx, her voice was a lot steadier than she felt. Running a horse ranch isn’t easy and can be expensive. Betty’s husband Chuck had a trucking job that subsidized the horse ranch and things were not going well between Betty and Chuck and hadn’t been for a very long time even though they had been married for over 20 years.
When Harpo bolted from Betty’s approach, again, she decided it was time to call it a morning. Though it was noon, Chuck was making breakfast. He had worked all night and had slept in that morning. The two hadn’t hugged or kissed or even said a loving thing to each other in so long Betty couldn’t remember. Sometimes days would pass without them saying a word to each other.
The two had met in a singles Bible study at church. Chuck was a complete gentleman, unlike most of the men who had been in Betty’s life previously, including an abusive ex-husband and an abusive and womanizing father. Chuck listened and seemed to like Betty for Betty and when they were dating they never seemed to run out of things to talk about. After one date Chuck took Betty home and stood at the door talking for another hour before he finally said goodnight.
Betty had been a mess. After she and her first husband had split up she had gotten a restraining order against him. He responded by doing the unthinkable. He came to the house while Betty and the kids were away and committed suicide. She and the kids found him. As you can probably imagine, that left deep emotional scars on all of them.
From that moment Betty took on an attitude that said she was on her own. She tried to warn Chuck away but he was patient and persistent. They did get married and that is when things turned south. He thought she was too permissive with the kids. She thought he didn’t have enough appreciation for all they had been through. She thought he spent money too freely and he thought she was too controlling. Many of us know the story.
The hardest part for Betty was Chuck’s long road trips. There were overnight trips and trips where he would be gone for days at a time. Her imagination and memories of her womanizing father and all her mother went through crept into her mind. Her dad used to tell her mom he was working when he was really with another woman. Whenever Chuck was gone, she would wonder and many times would investigate bank statements, credit card statements and receipts, searching for clues of Chuck’s unfaithfulness. Though she never found anything, she continued to look.