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Friday, May 27, 2011

Deepening our prayer life in busy times

Dear Friends and Praying Saints:

We are feeling a little worn out, but have been having a wonderful time in the Lord. The last ten days have been very full with lots of activities and visitors too. "As busy as a bee" seems a fitting description!

Last Friday we went to share with a small group in the middle of Pembrokeshire who meet monthly to stir up hearts and prayers for revival. It was good time of reflecting on some of the many things that the Lord is doing throughout Wales, and we were all encouraged and motivated to keep pressing in for more.

Saturday and Sunday was a revival conference at Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Cardigan where we attend frequently. They had invited two preachers over from Ireland, and their messages in the two sessions I attended were very inspirational, challenging us to a closer walk with Jesus, and to really know Him rather than just knowing about Him.

Then Sunday evening we received two couples from a training center in Cyprus, one of whom we've known for over 20 years through our association with Shady Grove Church in Grand Prairie, Texas. They are an an exploratory-intercessory trip visiting some of the old wells of revival in England, Wales and Scotland. You can imagine their delight to discover that the name of our house is "Hen Ffynnon", which means "Ancient Well" in Welsh.

Monday I took them to St. Govan's Chapel on the south coast of Pembrokeshire. This is one of my favorite places in Wales. Govan was one of the early Celtic monks who spent the last decades of his life in a rustic cave in the cliffs praying for this special land. The wind and surf were wild, and we all had a powerful time in God's presence, connecting with the prayers and intercessions that have transpired in this place during the last fifteen hundred years.

From there I took them to visit to Saint David's Cathedral and Bishops Palace in the UK's smallest city, another important landmark in Welsh ecclesiastical history. And afterwards we went to see the lighthouse at Strumble Head near Fishguard.

On our way back home we got into a typically Welsh traffic situation. On the winding little farm lanes, we found ourselves stuck behind a large flock of sheep being driven along in front of us.

We had no alternative other than to excercise patience and hope they weren't going too far. After a long half a mile they turn through a gate in to a field. Meanwhile, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to take a short video of this pastoral adventure. You might enjoy watching the video here!

Over the last two weeks Gladys and I have been reading "Rees Howells, Intercessor" by Norman Grubb. It is the first time she's ever read it, and we have both been tremendously edified through the accounts of Spirit-led prayer and stunning results. Gladys says it has totally changed her outlook on and understanding of intercessory prayer, and feels like she has been able to connect with God's heart for Wales and its people in a much deeper way than before. This has been an enormous blessing for us both.

I would like to strongly recommend that you read or re-read this book as an incentive and guide to deepening your own experience in prayer. Rees Howells story tells how he was brought to some serious introspection before the Lord, and how his ever deepening surrender to the Holy Spirit's guidance brought him into a unique and powerful, though costly, relationship with Jesus. You can download the book as a .pdf file here.

Speaking of prayer, Gladys has made some headway with her healing process. Happily she has regained a few pounds, and the problem with her body temperature has gradually improved as a direct result of prayers. Recently though she feels like her progress has "stalled" somewhat, and she really needs more strength and energy.

We are learning more and more about trusting the Lord in this whole situation, and so we'd like to thank you for your prayers and encouragements thus far. There is much to do over the coming summer months, and so we ask you to please keep praying for her complete recovery, and that it may be soon. Thank you so much!

Trusting in His new mercies for each day,

Dick & Gladys


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Floodgates of God's Mercy !

Dear Friends and Prayers:

When the force of the swollen Mississippi River leapt through the floodgates of the Morganza Spillway last Satuday, we were in an intercessory prayer meeting in the very chapel vestry in New Quay where the first flames of the Welsh Revival were kindled in 1904. One of the songs we sang was "Here is Love", which was a theme song of that powerful awakening.

Here is love, vast as the ocean,
Lovingkindness as the flood,
When the Prince of Life, our Ransom,
Shed for us His precious blood.
Who His love will not remember?
Who can cease to sing His praise?
He can never be forgotten,
Throughout Heav’n’s eternal days.

On the mount of crucifixion,
Fountains opened deep and wide;
Through the floodgates of God’s mercy
Flowed a vast and gracious tide.
Grace and love, like mighty rivers,
Poured incessant from above,

And Heav’n’s peace and perfect justice
Kissed a guilty world in love.

As we sang in an atmosphere "loaded" with intercession for revival, I was immediately reminded of the what was taking place in Louisiana, our home for so many years. We lived very close to the river and a few miles downstream from the Bonne Carre Spillway pictured here, and it was one of my favorite places to pray. The words "floodgates" and "vast and gracious tide" have a special significance for me because I am so familiar with this place.

Let me explain about the magnitude of this location. The spillway here is one and a half miles wide. When the river rises to the the point when they open the gates, it carries 1.5 million gallons per second. That's enough water to fill a huge swimming pool measuring 10 miles by 10 miles (100 square miles) up to my chest in less than 20 seconds!

When all the gates are opened like in the photo below, the area on the right becomes a huge river 15 feet deep and runs 6 miles into massive Lake Pontchartrain and then out to the Gulf of Mexico, keeping the Mississippi at a safe level as it runs between the levies through the heart of New Orleans.

I remember standing on the point of high ground several hundred yards to the left of this spot, where the waters actually divide when the gates are opened. The sound of "the rushing of mighty waters" and the immensity of this raw unharnessed power is overwhelming and unforgettable.

But it is not to be compared with the amazing power of God's grace. These scenes came to mind during our times of intercession in New Quay and later at the chapel in Blaenannerch where Evan Roberts cried out, "Bend me, Lord!" And I realized with a fresh and enlarged perspective the power that our prayers have when they are directed by the Holy Spirit!

While praying with Gladys recently the Lord impressed her with the verse in Ephesians 6:10 which says,
"Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might.
" This exhortation is clear and direct - we stand firm because of His power and grace.

So in a very graphic way we just want to remind "what a mighty God we serve!" He is the only true God, and His mercies are new every morning. There is nothing too big for Him to handle, whether it's something in your life or in the world around us.

So as Paul writes in Hebrews 4:16, "Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." And we are reminded in 1 Peter 5:6-7, "Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you."

Made bold through His love,

Dick & Gladys


Friday, May 06, 2011

Prayers for Gladys being answered. Thank you Lord!

Dear Saints and Praying Friends:

Spring holidays here meant no updates either - my apologies! There has lots more going on than I can share here, but do want to cover a couple of the highlights at least.

Praise God, Gladys is getting better, and yesterday afternoon she went with me into the chapel for the first time in a long while. She says, "Thank you, thank you, thank you for your prayers. But please keep praying that I can soon regain the weight I've lost and that my body temperature return to normal."

There have been some wonderful times of prayer in our home for Gladys during the past few weeks. We've had several friends as houseguests or day visitors, and all have contributed with compassionate prayers and some even with tears on her behalf. And the Lord is responding!

Last Friday we had made arrangements for our good friends Steve and Sulwen, a local pastor and his wife, to visit in the afternoon. During the morning we received a lovely surprise visit from friends from England. His suggestion that we have the elders of the church come and pray as the scriptures instruct came to pass in a totally surprising way.

When we were finishing up the "social" part of our planned afternoon visit and getting ready to move into a prayer time, there came a knock on our kitchen door. What a pleasant surprise to find our dear friends Harry and Sandy Hewat standing at the door.

I've known them since 1974, and he is a pastor in Birmingham, England. Only the Lord could have orchestrated it all so perfectly. And a little while after an awesome time of prayer, Gladys was filled with joy and all kinds of energy, and starting doing things in the kitchen. And before the Hewats left after a nice long visit we wound up spending more time in prayer again! God is so good!

Many of the things that the Lord has spoken to Gladys through these times of prayer have been very encouraging. One particular word was that as the warmth and growth of springtime becomes fuller and more obvious, so too will her healing become evident. Another was that her physical condition has been sort of a picture of the church at large in Wales, and that just as her health improves, so will the church make strides towards fulfilling its destiny.

Monday other friends dropped by to have a time of prayer for Gladys, and the Lord bumped her up another notch or two right on the spot. Shortly after we finished praying, there she was outside running around with our visitors' 4-year old son just like old times. Thank you Jesus!

It was such an improvement that were delighted to be able to go to the Prayer Day on Tuesday at Ffald-y-Brenin, where she got yet another dose of prayer from friends there. After lunch, we took off to quiet little nearby parking spot for her to have a nap, and it was such a nice day, I decided to go for a walk and prayer along a stream through the woods which were filled with bluebells. You are welcome to see the photos I took. Just click for bluebells here.

Such natural beauty always brings to mind scriptures like Psalm 8:3-4. "When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit him?"
If you'd like to join me for a few minutes of my walk in this video link, you can appreciate also just what magnificent sights met my eyes, and pray along too!

Thank you again so much for your prayers for Gladys, and for Wales,

Dick & Gladys


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