Except to God in Prayer

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Me:  Hi Prodigal, who is with you?


Prodigal:  This is Hugger Bear and he helps children that are sick in the hospital.


Me:  Wow, that is a worthy job to have.  It reminds me of another person who went out to help children.


Prodigal:  Please tell me the story.


This is the story of George Muller.


George Muller moved to Teignmouth, England from Germany in 1828.  After several years of working in the area he found his thoughts centering on the idea of founding an orphan’s home.  It would not be just a place to care for a few homeless children, but a vast institution-built and operated on faith.  He would make it a pure example of trust in God.

On April 21, 1836, the first Orphan Home was dedicated in a rented building.  Within a matter of days there were forty-three children to be cared for.  Muller and his co-workers decided that the controlled experiment would be set up along these lines:

1.  No funds would ever be solicited.  No facts or figures concerning needs were to be revealed by the workers in the orphanage to anyone, except to God in prayer.

2.  No debts would ever be incurred.  The burden of experiment would therefore not be on local shopkeepers or suppliers.

3.  No money contributed for a specific purpose could ever be used for any other purpose.

4.  All accounts would be audited annually by professional auditors.

5.  No ego-pandering by publication of donors’ names with the amount of their gifts; each donor would be thanked privately.

6.  No “names” of prominent or titled persons would be sought for the board or to advertise the institution.

7.  The success of the institution would be measured not by the numbers served or by the amounts of money taken in, but by God’s blessing on the work, which Muller expected to be in proportion to the time spent in prayer.

Before opening his first orphanage Muller has said that he would consider the experiment a failure, if ever the orphans had to go for a single day without food.

When the fist building was opened, George Muller and his associates stuck to their principles, spending time in prayer that ordinarily would have gone to fund-raising.  An unbelieving public was amazed when a second building was opened six months after the first.  Muller concentrated on prayer, and the money kept coming in.  Eventually, there were five new buildings, with 110 helpers taking care of 2050 orphans.

For sixty years he recorded every specific prayer request and the result.  His kept meticulous books on every penny received and all money expended.

He published in detail four volumes of his journals for others to look at toward the end of his life.  If you look in his journals, you can see one point, during this time: no orphan every went without food.




Matthew 6:31-32

Therefore do not be anxious, saying, “What shall we eat? or “What shall we drink?”  or “What shall we wear?”  For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.


Jennifer Van Allen,




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Me:  Prodigal, who are you with?


Prodigal:  This is Wayne and Shelby’s first grandchild and he is a boy!


Me:  Grandchildren are precious and this one is very cute, I must say.


Prodigal:  He is getting ready for bed, and we both could use a story to relax us.


Catherine Marshall discusses grandchildren I her book Beyond Our Selves.


When Christ’s apostles first started preaching, they insisted that every individual had to have a personal encounter with Christ and make the decision to accept His way-for himself.  Judging from history, there must have  been plenty of vitality in the first-century church-enough to shake the sophisticated Roman world to its depths.

Well, the years passed.  After a while those first followers of Christ began to reason, These children of ours were born into a Christian family.  They have grown up in the church and have been instructed in the faith.  They were born Christians.  Surely they don’t need any special experience of repentance as we did.

The church pews were soon filled with the sons and daughters of those first followers.  But since the children had inherited their belief in Christ, they knew Him only secondhand.  Perhaps it was not surprising that by the second century the vitality of the church had begun to decline.  Proofs of God’s power became the exception rather than the rule.  The pews were then filled with largely secondhand believers-grandsons and granddaughters.  God has no grandchildren.  God only has children.

I wonder how many others there are who have thought of formal church membership as a substitute for that direct Father-child relationship that God really wants of us?  No wonder much of our religious life today is plagued by vagueness.  Let us not mistake it:  Entering in does take childlikeness.  The door through which we enter into Life is a low door.  And sometimes it is the humble and the needy who can show the rest of us the way.

Are you a grandchild or a child of God?  Does your church activity substitute for a relationship?  Why not have church activities that are based on your relationship with God instead of others?  Sometimes God has to bring us low so that we can see just how big God is.  It is then that we can start viewing our relationship with God as that child.  Then he can become that Father and love us and care for us.

Psalm 116:6

The Lord preserve, the simple:  I was brought low, and he helped me.


Jennifer Van Allen,






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Me:  Prodigal, what happened?


Prodigal:  I hurt my hoof and now I have this crutch.


Me:   Sorry to hear that, is it painful?


Prodigal:  Yes, and I am a little discouraged at the moment.


Me:  I have some wisdom from Discerning the Right Decision by Gaspar Anastasi that  may help you.

Hold off making a judgment until you know you are seeing things clearly from God’s perspective.  If you get discouraged and make decisions based on discouragement, you may stop blessings God has for you.  Your circumstances are subject to change at any moment.  Hold on.  Don’t make a permanent decision based on temporary circumstances.  God is well able to take what looks like a disaster right now and turn it into a tremendous blessing tomorrow.

Sometimes we feel pressured into making a decision quickly, especially if we think things are going in the wrong direction.  Wait.  Go to the Lord.

There is more going on then we may be able to see.  God has a habit of working behind the scenes.  Just wait and see how God is working behind the scenes.  I know God is working and this is just to encourage you that He is right now!


Colossians 1:17

And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.


Jennifer Van Allen




It Just Isn’t Fair



Me:  Howdy, Prodigal and Mr. Turtle.  How are you this fine day?


Prodigal:  We are great!  We are about to go fishing on this wonderful day at the beach.


Me:  I hope you catch something!


Prodigal:  Me too!  I would like to hear a story though before we leave.


Me:  Of course, todays story comes from God’s Little Devotional Book for Women.


For weeks, eight-year-old Susie had been looking forward to a particular Saturday fishing trip with her dad.  But when the day finally arrived, it was raining heavily.

Susie wandered around the house all morning, grumbling as she peered out the windows, “Seems like the Lord would know it would have been better to have the rain yesterday than today.”  Her father tried to explain how important the rain was to the farmers and gardeners.  But Susie only replied, “It just isn’t fair.”

Around three o’clock, the rain stopped.  There was still time for fishing, so father and daughter quickly loaded their gear and headed for the lake.  Because of the rainstorm, the fish were really biting.  Within a couple of hours, they returned with a full stringer of fish.

At the family’s “fish dinner” that night.  Susie was asked to say grace.  She concluded her prayer by saying, “And, Lord, if I sounded grumpy earlier today, it was because I couldn’t see far enough ahead.

When we seek God’s advice in our lives, it is important to realize He alone can see what is coming!

I can hear you.  You have been grumbling today.  It is raining and you just don’t want it to rain today.  NOT TODAY!  Maybe tomorrow, maybe next Thursday, but not today.  The rain is for a purpose.  You can’t see ahead to how the Lord will bring a stringer of fish for you.  So maybe, just maybe.  Even though you don’t feel like it.  Praise God for the rain, then wait expectantly for the sun to shine!


Humble yourself therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time 1 Peter 5:6


Jennifer Van Allen




Limited View



Me:  Prodigal, Why are you so close to the television?


Prodigal:  I want to see this movie and I am very excited about it.  I don’t want to miss anything.


Me:  Well to get a complete view of the movie, you need to step back some.  So you can see everything.


Prodigal:  Thanks, I will move farther away, but before I watch the movie, do you want to share your story?


Me:  Sure it is talking about our view of things.


Discerning the Right Decision by Gaspar Anastasi talks about Gods ways.


God’s ways are so different from ours that it is impossible for us to always know the right solution with our limited understanding.  The only way is to let God lift us up into the high places so that we can see what He sees and understand what He understands.  When God lifts you up, you are able to see the plans that He has for your life.

Maybe things in your life aren’t going the way you had envisioned and you need to make some major decisions.  Wait.  If you judge things from your limited vantage point, if you go by just what you can see with your natural eyes at this particular moment in time, you will miss God.  You will judge your circumstances incorrectly and then make a wrong decision based on that faulty judgment.  As a result, you will turn the reins of your life over to the enemy to lead you places where you don’t want to go.  Meanwhile, the Bible says in Psalm 37:23  that the steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord. 

I always thought I was smart.  I think my brother Aaron, is saying right now.  (It moved from smart to an arrogance).  Then some of you are probably saying, are you sure it still isn’t arrogance.

Anyway I can say without a doubt that my steps were ordered by Jennifer in the past.  I can say with those steps came financial security, lots of material possessions, and a planned out life.  Now there is nothing wrong with financial security, material possessions and being smart.  God has just  shown me that at that time in my life it was a distraction for me.  I can honestly say that during this time when I was ordering my steps that the Lord barely used me.

Now, I feel that the Lord uses me almost everyday.  I am learning to begin the day in surrender to what the Lord would have me do and not my list of what is important.  I am a planner and this is hard for me to surrender.  I constantly want to come up with a list that I think is great.  In surrendering my planning though to the Lord. I am moving closer to the Lord and the Lord is using me more. I still plan but God is doing the list and not me.

Who is ordering your steps for the rest of the day?  How about tomorrow?  Is God softly speaking to you that you should maybe plan something else that is more about His direction then yours?


Psalm 25:4-5

Make me know Your ways, O Lord; Teach me Your paths.  Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; For You I wait all the day.

Jennifer Van Allen








You Were Made By God


Me:  What a beautiful river!


Prodigal:  Yes, it is so peaceful here, almost like a Garden of Eden.


Me:  The story of Adam and Eve and the first sin.


Prodigal:  What do you mean the first sin?


Me:  Well let be share something from my reading that will help explain the sin of Adam and Eve.


Gary Heim and Lisa Heim talk about sin nature in their book True North:  Choosing God In The Frustrations of Life.


Because of our sin nature, passed on to us by Adam and Eve, we don’t naturally delight in loving, serving, and celebrating God and one another.  Instead, we forsake God and manipulate others for our own advantage.  When we live self-centered instead of God-centered lives, our lives become chaotic and never make sense. 

The search for the purpose of life has puzzled people for thousands of years.   That’s because we typically began at the wrong starting point-ourselves.  We ask self-centered questions like What do I want to be?  What should I do with my life?  What are my goals, my ambitions, my dreams for my future?  But focusing on ourselves will never reveal our life’s purpose. 

You were made by God and for God- and until you understand that , life will never make sense.  It is only God that we discover our origin, our identity, our meaning, our purpose, our significance, and our destiny.  Every other path leads to a dead end.

The greatest lie Satan wants us to believe is that life is a story about us, about me, and that I play the leading role.  The greatest truth God wants us to believe is that life is a story about Jesus Christ and that we play an important supportive role.  Fully embracing this truth sets us free to live for God and the good of others.  To embrace the lie brings us into the worst and darkest bondage possible.


I am happy and I have peace when I embrace the supportive role to Jesus Christ.  It takes pressure off of me.  I don’t have to have all the answers.  I don’t have to figure everything out.  I don’t have to be perfect.  I just let Jesus take the lead and I follow.

That goal of yours is it supportive of Jesus?  Look at it again.  Maybe that is the struggle.  The goal is  not supportive to Jesus.  That goal is self serving.


1 John 3:1

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.  The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.


Jennifer Van Allen,



Committed to Unbelief



Me:  Prodigal, what a beautiful view!


Prodigal:  It really is and I have been enjoying the day.  I am in Tampa and not far from the University of Tampa.


Me:  Do you mind if I walk with you and I can share some thoughts about someone at another University.


Prodigal:  Please do!


As I was reading I came across a statement from Thomas Nagel a professor of philosophy at New York University.


I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers.  It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and naturally, hope there is no God!  I don’t want there to be a God.


Let me just share my thoughts for a minute.  Here is a professor of philosophy who has a job to really learn about life.  Study life and then teach others what life means.  He is made uneasy and wants atheism to be true.  That tells us that he has to be committed to unbelief.  Committed to atheism.  Committed to no God.

We hear a lot that people who believe in Jesus Christ are “brain washed”, not intelligent, and weak people.  We have this professor admitting that the most intelligent people in the world believe.  We hear a lot also that we who believe in Jesus Christ dig for facts to prove our case.  Look at it this way though.  This professor has just admitted a bias of wanting there not to be a God.  If you don’t believe in Jesus Christ you are just as guilty as trying to dig facts to prove your case.  So then what is the answer.

The truth is that Jesus is who he says he is.  He is the son of God and has come to be our savior which is what we need.  See a lie could not exist for 2000 years.  Think about it.  Hitler could not keep his lie and his brain washing around for 10 years.  A lie cannot last.  The truth always creeps out.  The only way Jesus Christ has this many followers is it is true who he is.  Study it some more though for yourself.  Start reading the bible in John.  Learn all that he said about himself and what he did.

I have never regretted accepting Jesus as my savior ever!


John 3:16-17

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him.


Jennifer Van Allen