Saturday, January 30, 2016

Houston... We Have a Problem

So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and he answered our prayer.

-- Ezra 8:23 

Houston... We have a problem.

These words were made famous in April 1970 after an oxygen tank exploded aboard the Apollo 13 spacecraft and nearly ended the lunar mission in disaster. The astronauts were forced to return to earth without ever landing on the moon, and they had to improvise a way to conserve onboard electricity while reducing the buildup of deadly carbon dioxide inside the cabin. More troubling still was that no one could determine if the damaged capsule would withstand the intense heat generated while re-entering the earth's atmosphere.

Earth-based radar stations tracked Apollo 13's Apollo 13progress home while NASA stayed in radio contact with the astronauts. But as expected, communications were lost when super-heated plasma built up around the spacecraft. It wasn't until minutes later that Mission Control heard the astronauts' voices break through the static. The prayers of millions around the world were answered that day as Apollo 13 and its crew splashed down safely to earth.

Even for the most experienced Christ-followers, there are times when our prayers to God are met by static. We don't know if He's heard us or not. And if our pleas did reach Him, we don't understand why there's no response.

How can we break through this frustrating spiritual barrier? First, it's important to examine ourselves for sin...and then admit it to God if and when we find it. That's because the noise of unconfessed sin can drown out what God is trying to tell us. Next, we need to clear the airways by forgiving others for anything we might be holding against them. After all, how can we expect God to forgive us for how we've failed Him when we hold grudges against others for relatively minor issues? Next, how are we treating our spouse and children? And are we helping to care for the needy through the riches God has entrusted us to manage? As Christ-followers, we're expected to help those in need with food, shelter and clothing.

Finally...there's the BIG question: Are you a Christ-follower? If not, understand that prayer and communication with God are based on your relationship with Jesus.

"You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it," Jesus assures us in the Gospel of John.

Are your prayers these days met with static, or is communication with God coming in loud and clear? When you're having trouble breaking through, locating the barrier is sometimes as easy as finding the closest mirror.

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