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 friends.
Author and LaSalle University professor, Grace Adolphsen Brame, Says some of her students claim heaven is of no concern to them. Life is precious. This world matters, and it is all we have for sure. So why concern ourselves with something for which we have no evidence?
What a sad state of affairs for so many in the world around us. Dr. Brame goes on to say, “Every night one of my friends prays that he will die before morning. He fervently hopes there is no hereafter. Something in him says eternal life is pie in the sky, a human concoction that became dogma when it was accepted by enough people. Considering his many disappointments with God, why should he trust the next life will be any better than this one?
For those of us who believe, how sad a state of affairs in the lives of people, to have no hope. It is difficult for me to imagine someone living in such a world, in such a state of mind that they quite literally have no hope. One of my preacher friends is the polar opposite of Dr. Brame’s friend. Mireya calls herself a, “hope junkie.” She surrounds herself with signs and objects of hope. She even has the words “Hope Junkie, Romans 15:13” printed on the back bumper of her car. The words were there before she even had a permanent license plate! For those of you who may be wondering, Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in faith so that you overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
It is really difficult for me to comprehend a person having so little hope but I know it happens. I knew a woman, we will call her Rebecca, when I was a student at Sam Houston. Rebecca, in some ways, was like any other college student though she was older than average and had four kids ranging from elementary school to college. She had been through a great deal in her life and when you started talking to her about the future, it became very clear, very quickly she didn’t see much good in life and she didn’t have much hope for the future.
Most of our fellow students had no idea when it came to the depth of Rebecca’s problems and despair. Though I talked to her regularly and knew more about her past than probably anyone else around there, even I didn’t recognized the depth of her issues until just after Thanksgiving when she became suicidal. The director at the Wesley Foundation and I spent quite a bit of time individually and together, in prayer for Rebecca. When the spring semester began she had emerged some from the problem but still had a long way to go. Fortunately, with all that prayer we were able to convince Rebecca to take advantage of the counseling services offered by the university. I have long since lost contact with Rebecca but on occasion, when I think about it, I still pray for her. There was no doubt then she needed a breakthrough. She might still need one today.
This morning we are continuing our series on breakthrough prayer. We began this series two weeks ago, the Sunday after the conclusion of this year’s annual conference. At conference this year one of our speakers was the Reverend Sue Nillen Kibey, director of connectional ministries for the West Ohio Annual Conference. In one of her addresses Rev. Kibey talked about the idea of breakthrough prayer. She defined breakthrough prayer as prayer where we ask God to break through in a given situation as only God can do and to bring about God sized change in the circumstance. On that first Sunday following Annual Conference we talked about breakthrough prayer in our families. If I would have thought about this series a little more and didn’t move into it quite so quickly, I would have flipped this sermon with the first. Father’s Day would have been an appropriate time to talk about asking God to break through in our families. But alas, I failed to think it quite all the way through and we talked about breakthrough prayer for our families two weeks ago. In all our families there are situations we cannot fix, situations where we need God to breakthrough and see to things in ways we simply cannot do.
Last week was Pentecost Sunday. I did think that one through. It seems to me there is no better time to ask God to breakthrough in the life of the church than on Pentecost, the birthday of the church. We went on to talk about some of the issues facing our congregation now and into the future and how we needed God to break through to give us a vision for our future.