Today's scripture: James 1:2-7 (read)
I remember the specially made Advent wreaths of my childhood. To give us more Scripture and tradition, Mom had us take turns reading every week. We also did this at church, a way of marking the waiting period until Christmas.
Prayer has awesome power. Did you ever know someone whose heart was hardened so much you wondered if the Word of God could get in? Or someone came into your life or family from a cult-type group or non-Christian religion? We have, and I have felt a tremendous spiritual burden for them.
Many of us have prayed and waited for many years, and finally this year, my Dad has come to a relationship with Christ! There were many years it would have been easier to think it would never happen - his heart was too hard or he was too old. But we persevered in prayer and sharing God's love, and God has blessed.
We also have a young man with a non-Christian religion background who has gone off to college. We were concerned about him being a bit naïve and that he might go off the deep end initially. Again, as this Scripture says, we should ask and God gives generously. The Christian Campus House guys befriended him during Freshman Week, and he accepted Christ as his Savior soon after. He moved into the Christian Campus House this year and is quite an evangelist. God is amazing!
These are just two of the times this year when answered prayer came from patience, because it was God's will and God's time. It is not easy, but I am learning that is always better than I could have imagined. In this Advent time of waiting for the celebration of Christ's birth, we must remember that if we wait patiently and prayerfully, the same God will answer in miraculous ways.
Becky Powell serves as an administrative assistant at Windermere Baptist Conference Center.
This 2011 Advent devotion originally appeared in the November 17 issue of Word&Way.