Your Voice: ‘I will never again underestimate the power of prayer’

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Your Voice: ‘I will never again underestimate the power of prayer’

Twenty years of puffing on cigarettes had taken its toll on me. Thousands of dollars had been wasted in tobacco purchases, shortness of breath had been acquired and my clothes and automobile reeked of putrid nicotine and stale smoke.

New Year’s Day each year brought stop-smoking resolutions that didn’t survive Jan. 2.

Step-down filters, nicotine chewing gum and other quit-smoking gimmicks were only a waste of more money.

Head colds, bronchitis and sinusitis were frequent visitors.

How would I ever be able to quit this insane and expensive habit when all of my previous approaches had failed?

Enslaved by a habit

I refused to be enslaved by a habit that was costing me dearly in my health, money and time, but I had no idea how to stop the only addiction I had ever experienced.

While reading a devotional, I came across Matthew 7:7–8, “Ask and it shall be given you, seek and you shall find, knock and it shall be opened unto you. For everyone that asketh receiveth, and he that seeketh findeth, and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”

Then I recalled Matthew 21:22, “And all things whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, that ye shall receive.”

Suddenly, I realized that prayer was one approach I had not tried in my efforts to stop smoking.

Was this the answer?

In prayer, I admitted to the Lord I was weak, and the nicotine had such a grip on me that I could not quit on my own.

I prayed for His help in curbing the desire and taste for another cigarette.

It was His love and guidance, and my desire to be rid of the stench of smoke upon my clothes, that brought an easy end to two decades of this addiction.

It was during the early days of this struggle I realized what a great team we were.

His love lifted me during the crucial times of those first few days when it would have been easy to answer the call of the nicotine.

Presence of Jesus

My saliva glands were working overtime for the taste of one more cigarette; yet His presence calmed me and the desire was short lived.

It has now been four years since I last lit a cigarette, and I have no desire whatsoever.

In Romans 12:12, Paul tells us to give our bodies to God as a living sacrifice.

He instructs us not to conform to the customs and patterns of others, but rather to seek a fresh new approach in what you do and think.

My experiences have given me a better understanding of these verses. I will never again underestimate the power of prayer.

By Charles Hendrix
Member, First Baptist Church Fannin, Mississippi

The importance of godly friendships

Godly friendships are important. It is imperative that we surround ourselves with godly people who will do life with us and who will point us toward our Savior.

When it comes to those who are in your inner circle, those in whom you confide and from whom you seek counsel, make sure they are godly individuals whom God has placed in your life.

One of the areas in which I struggled the most was the area of friendship choices. Red flags would wave continually, but regretfully, I ignored the Lord’s promptings.

Finally, God had to intervene. When the Lord waves a red flag in your spirit — pay attention!

The Lord always sees what you do not. What you may be viewing as a true friend may be nothing more than a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Seek God for His friendship choices.

“Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals’” (1 Cor. 15:33).

“He who walks with wise men will be wise, But the companion of fools will suffer harm” (Prov. 13:20).

“Do not make friends with a hot-tempered person. Do not associate with one easily angered, or you may learn their ways and get yourself ensnared” (Prov. 22:24–25).

O’Shea Lowery
Entrusted Hope Ministries

God-given vision takes time, focus

Having a vision is very important to living a vibrant Christian life or leading a ministry in the local church (Prov. 29:18). But as I have been contemplating this subject lately, it occurs to me that all visions are not equal.

Sometimes we have a vision of what we want to accomplish instead of seeking God’s will for what He wants to accomplish.

Sometimes we are so focused on finding our own new vision, we abandon the vision God has already given us.

Sometimes we have so many visions, it all just becomes a jumbled mess, and everyone ignores us when we talk about our various visions.

For vision to have significance, it must come from God. Any new vision we conceive must be in line with what God has already said, for God cannot contradict Himself.

God-given vision takes time to come to fruition. We need time with God to hear His vision for our life and ministry. Then we need to join God in accomplishing that vision — no matter how hard it is.

We must stay focused instead of abandoning the vision when challenges come. In the fullness of time, the vision will come to pass. Then we must remember to celebrate the accomplishment of the vision and ask God to lead us through the next step in His plan.

So dream big, but make sure it is God’s dream, not ours. Be ready to work hard to fulfill the vision. Be patient until the dream comes to pass. Then take the next right step in the vision process.

Terry W. Dorsett
Executive director
Baptist Churches of New England

God-given vision takes time, focus

“The art is central to the gospel. It defines or redefines everything that is bleeding into this culture — the hope of having peace, shalom and harmony — and understanding who we are as humans,” said Hannah, an IMB missionary in Spain who uses art posters, pamphlets and other designs to start gospel conversations.

“Every time the doors open, I’ve got to go to church. … I read my Bible through and when I get through, I start over again,” said 101-year-old Edith Mitchell, a member of First Baptist Church Mountain Home, Arkansas.

“I try to let people see the light of Jesus in me,” said Hannah Gammill, a junior on the University of Arkansas softball team. “I also hope that people can see Jesus in the way I play.”

“When a church exists to serve the Kingdom of God, it is powerful,” said Jeff Christopherson, author of “Once You See: Seven Temptations of the Western Church.” “When a church exists to serve itself, it becomes idolatrous and powerless.”

“If you can pray, count, cut, visit — or you just enjoy eating chocolate — we have a spot,” said Delaina Bullock, who leads the Mission Action team at First Baptist Church Clinton, Missouri.

When we spend the majority of our day around lost people but never speak the name of Jesus to them, we are making an excuse. So often we focus on the daily busyness of life by neglecting His Word and prayer and fellowship, but Jesus is inviting us to feast rather than starve.

James Hammack

“What happened on Feb. 8 was a launching point for a movement of God,” said recent Asbury University graduate Alexandra Presta in her video testimony on the spiritual “outpouring” that began on campus and spread to other universities this spring.

“Self-denial is something I struggle with in country music, where instead every night I’m getting up on the stage and seeking glory, seeking applause, seeking people to exalt me,” said longtime country musician Granger Smith, who recently announced his 2023 tour will be his last as he pursues a calling into ministry.

“A pastor in today’s world and ministry, you have to get out of your box, out of your office,” said Wes Brown, pastor of Cowboy Church of Collin County, Texas.

“You have to get out where the people are. I think that’s what Jesus did. He went to lunch with them. He was out among them.”



America has always needed God. But at this time, it’s more apparent than ever. Culture is rapidly shifting — and it doesn’t appear to be in the right direction.

We need to start praying like we never prayed before. (Twitter)

Four thoughts that help guide my Christian life.

  1. True transformation begins when we surrender our plans to the will of God.
  2. In the face of adversity, faith becomes an anchor for our souls.
  3. Transformation is not an event; it is a lifelong process.
  4. The true measure of our faith is seen in our love for others.

Stephen Tillis, pastor

Briarlake Church, Decatur,

Georgia via Facebook


The bread of life. The BEST fuel. It’s so important that we revisit the word and talk to God every single day as though we have never done so before.

Praise God for a new day. (Instagram)


We’ve got some important areas to work through on cooperation at the #SBC level, but every week as a pastor over and over again, I’m convinced the local church is where it’s at. (Twitter)


Reading through the book of Jeremiah makes you wonder how many false prophets today are speaking happy-speak rather than a great word from God. We would do well to understand the role of #prophecy in today’s churches since it helps grow the church to maturity. Ephesians 4:11 (Twitter)


Healthy things grow. Focus on your church’s health and trust God to give it growth. (Twitter)

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