How Are You, REALLY?

October 31, 2017

“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.” (James 5:16)

A long time ago when I lunched with a friend on Mondays, I always asked him, “How are you, Skip?”

“Great, wonderful, marvelous and tremendous!” he’d answer.  Always.

Many Mondays I’d not had a good weekend and life was not great, wonderful, marvelous, and tremendous for me. But this guy was always emphatically optimistic. After this pattern continued for some time, one Monday I asked him, “Tell me something. If everything wasn’t great, wonderful, marvelous, and tremendous, how would you answer my question?”

“Oh, I’d probably lie to you,” he responded.

I decided to rephrase my question. I asked, “How are you, really, Skip?”

He worked with a group of people who emphasized Scripture memory and they all memorized a verse each week.  “Frankly, if you really want to know,” he said, “My verse of the week is, ‘Hang it on your beak, freak!’” We then had some honest conversation, what I call reality contact.

This is what James had in mind – if we are honest with each other we will be burdened to pray for each other. If we’re not honest when we meet together, we will not pray for each other honestly. One translation reads that our honest prayers will explode with power!

We should have this kind of reality contact with a believer we trust.

How are you, really?

Dick Woodward, 01 November 2011


Prayer Changes Things!!

September 20, 2016

“Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done. Then you will experience God’s peace which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you rest in Christ Jesus.”  (Philippians 4:6-7 NLT)

In these verses the Apostle Paul is challenging us with two options: when we are facing challenging problems we can worry about them, or we can turn our challenging problems into prayer requests.  Paul writes that we are not to worry because worry is counterproductive.  He prescribes that if we are overwhelmed with problems, we should let our mountain of problems turn us into prayer warriors.

So, here we have two options: we can be worriers, or we can be warriors. Prayer changes things!  Worry, on the other hand does not change anything except for the severe negative consequences it can have on our body, soul and spirit.  When we consider the devastating effects of worry and the miraculous results of answered prayer, we should resolve our two options into one.

When we realize we are anxious and uptight, and we know it is because we are choosing to be worriers, we should ask God to convert us into prayer warriors.  We should hold our problems up before the Lord and trade our futile worries for powerful prayers.  God may deliver us from those problems or give us the grace to cope with them.  But, in either case, God will give us peace.

Paul writes that God will stand guard over our hearts and minds and give us supernatural peace as we rest in what Christ will do.

Dick Woodward, 29 November 2011


A Go-To Prayer for Stormy Weather

January 22, 2016

“But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, ‘Lord, save me!’” (Matthew 14:30)

The Apostle Peter is the only man besides Jesus Christ who ever walked on water.  Yet millions only remember that he took his eyes off the Lord and would have drowned if the Lord had not saved him.

We read that Peter’s magnificent faith was flawed.  He saw the wind.  Since we cannot see wind this actually means that when he saw what the wind was doing, he lost sight of what Jesus was doing and became afraid.  The remarkable thing here is that when he kept his eyes on Jesus, he walked on water!

It was not until he was beginning to sink that Peter cried out this prayer: “Lord, save me!”  Two thousand years later, this remains a go-to prayer for us through the many storms of life.  Jesus taught that our prayers should not be long and we should never think we will generate grace with God by our many words.  If Peter had prayed a longer prayer, additional words would have been glub, glub glub (as he sunk under water!)  When Jesus caught Peter by the hand He gave him the nickname, “Little Faith.” (I believe our Lord was smiling when He did.) He literally asked Peter: “Why did you think twice?”

While very ill the past two weeks many people have been recruited to pray for me.  Yesterday it occurred to me that I had not prayed for myself.  I then fervently pleaded this prayer that the Lord always answers:  Lord, save me!

In your spiritual walk, don’t think twice and don’t be a “Little Faith.”  Instead, learn to plead this prayer…and soon you will find your way through the stormy waves of life walking on water.

Dick Woodward, 28 January 2014


Too Weak To Pray…

June 16, 2015

“Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus.  Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, ‘My child, your sins are forgiven.’”  (Mark 2: 4, 5)

When my wife was critically ill after the birth of our first child she reached a crisis on a Friday morning at ten o’clock.  Her eyes were moving back into her head and we thought we were losing her.  While several doctors did a spinal tap to relieve pressure on her brain, two precious sisters in the Lord were burdened to pray for her that morning at ten o’clock – not knowing anything about her crisis.  She pulled through that crisis and her life was saved.

While having her quiet time after returning from the hospital, she read the verses quoted above. She was moved to tears to realize that when she was too weak to pray for herself her sisters in the Lord were praying for her, and when the Lord saw their faith He ministered healing to her.

In our life span there are sure to be times when we will be too weak to pray for ourselves.  That’s one reason it is wise to be in spiritual community with other believers who know the Lord and love Him and who know you and love you.  If you had an accident or a sudden illness do you have anyone who would pray for you when you are too weak to pray for yourself?

The wisest man who ever lived wrote: “Two are better than one, because… if one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” (Ecclesiastes 4: 10, 11 NIV)

Dick Woodward, 18 September 2011

Editor’s Note: After Hospice care started here in our home last week, Dick’s precious Ginny is now too weak to pray for herself. We (the extended Woodward family) are so grateful for the faithful prayers of the spiritual community lifting her (and us) up at this time.


Out of the Closet!!!

April 24, 2015

“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and wonderful results.”  (James 5:16 NLT)

When Alcoholics Anonymous started it was called “The Saint James Fellowship” because it was founded on this verse. The founders later changed the name to include people of all faiths and those with no faith.  While millions of secular people in AA apply the truths of this Scripture and experience healing, it is a shame that many believers never make these healing applications.

When you meet with another believer do you keep your sins in the closet?  Do you give the impression that you don’t have a problem in the world?  Do they do the same?  That does not burden you to pray for each other.  But if you can trust them and share some of your sins with them they would be burdened to pray for you.  They would also more than likely have what I call “reality contact” with you by sharing their sins and that would burden you to pray for them. The result of these mutual prayers would be mutual healing.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who wrote extensively about spiritual community, put it this way: “Many Christians are unthinkably horrified when a real sinner is suddenly discovered among the righteous.  So they remain alone with their sins, living in lies and hypocrisy… He who is alone with his sins is utterly alone.”

A paraphrase of James 5:16 is that honest prayers explode with power!  It is a strategy of the evil one to isolate us into self imposed solitary confinement. Never let him isolate you into being a closet sinner; instead, find healing in confessing your sins and praying for one another.

Dick Woodward, 14 April 2013


A Definition of Humility

October 28, 2012

“By faith Moses… esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt… looked to the reward.”    (Hebrews 11: 23, 26)

No man has ever made a greater contribution to the work of God than Moses.  He gave the people of God their freedom when they were not free.  He gave them the one thing newly emancipated people need more than anything else: law and government.  Spiritually, he gave them the Word of God and worship.

A famous spiritual heavyweight named Dwight L. Moody summarized the life of Moses this way: “He lived 120 years in three periods of 40 years.  In the first 40 years he learned that he was nobody.  In the second 40 years he learned that he was somebody.  In the last 40 years of his life Moses and the whole world learned what God can do with somebody who has learned that he is nobody!”

Moses faced his greatest challenge when God called him to deliver God’s people from their awful slavery in Egypt. Moses had tried to do this on his own and failed, but God told him as He appeared in the burning bush: “You are not the deliverer.  I am.  You can’t deliver them but I can.” When the greatest miracle in the Old Testament happened God did not need to tell Moses: ”You didn’t do that.  I did!”

Have you ever tried to be the conduit of God’s deliverance from the slavery of addiction or sin in the life of another person?  When you do you simply must learn this definition of humility: you are not the deliverer.  God is.  You can’t deliver them but God can.  And if deliverance happens God is the Deliverer.


A Call to Community

September 22, 2012

“Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him…a threefold cord is not quickly broken.”   (Ecclesiastes 4:12)

The wisest man who ever lived wrote that we were not meant to fight our battles alone.  We need community.  Jesus told us that He is where two or three of us get together in His name (Matthew 18:20).  When Jesus said that, He was not consoling us for poor attendance at a prayer meeting.  He was giving us a prescription for an intentional dynamic we call a small group.

For nearly the first 300 years of Church history it was illegal to be a Christian.  That forced the Church to meet in small house churches.  Today we have many large churches. The only way to have meaningful interaction with other believers when you are part of a mega church is to meet in small groups. Here at the close of the Church age all over the world the Church is again meeting in small house churches

Perhaps this is what Solomon meant when he wrote that a threefold cord is not quickly broken.  Not only is a cord or a cable of three strands very strong; when cord number one is you, cord number two is another believer, and cord number three is our God – you have the cord that is not quickly broken.

The Old Testament calls this “Hesed.” The New Testament calls this concept of community “fellowship” or “koinonia.” When you are part of that threefold cord you are “wrapped in a bundle of life with the Lord your God.”  (I Samuel 25:29 Berkeley)

Have you personally discovered one of the greatest dynamics in the Bible?  Or do you believe you don’t need anybody because you can handle anything that comes your way and you can handle it alone?