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September 4, 2013
By Pastor ROGER H. LEMKE , Pine Island Eagle

Ever wonder about the acronym ASAP? Generally "As soon as possible" means even more hurry and stress in our lives. Maybe if we think of this abbreviation in a different manner, we'll begin to find a new way to deal with those rough days along the way.

There's work to do, deadlines to meet, you've got no time to spare, but as you hurry and scurry, ASAP: Always Say a Prayer. In the midst of family chaos, quality time is rare. Do your best; let God do the rest, ASAP: Always Say a Prayer. It may seem like your worries are more than you can bear. Slow down and take a breather, ASAP: Always Say a Prayer.

Prayer brings comfort, but not always the way we would like. I like the old story of a minister who went camping up in the mountains. He was enjoying the hiking through the mountain trails until the day he found himself face to face with the biggest ... ugliest ... meanest ... grizzly bear he had ever seen. He saw no means of escape and the bear was coming toward him growling. The minister did the only thing he knew to do. He dropped to his knees, closed his eyes, and began to pray. The longer he prayed, the better he felt. The bear had not attacked. So, the minister opened his eyes to see where the bear was and the bear was kneeling right in front of him. The minister was overjoyed and said, "O, Brother Bear, this is wonderful. It is a comfort to my soul to know that we are praying to the same Lord."

The bear opened his eyes, looked at the preacher, and said: "Yes, brother, but I'm saying grace."

Someone asked: "I felt the need of God and I prayed for something to happened and it didn't. Prayer failed." I replied: No, you did not really want God, you wanted God do something, and that's different. The purpose of prayer is to move into harmony with God, to have a sense of God's presence and to feel the assurance that come what may, we belong to Him and are underneath His everlasting arms. God knows how stressful life is; He wants to ease and calm our spirits, therefore in all things respond with ASAP: Always Say a Prayer.

Roger H. Lemke is Pastor of Fishers of Men Lutheran Church, St. James City



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