A Prayer for Comfort

June 11, 2019

“Thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, that He is our Father and the source of all mercy and comfort. For He gives us comfort in our trials…” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

Suffering can drive us to God in such a way that we make this great discovery:

God is here and God can comfort us.

There is supernatural quality of comfort that can be found in simply knowing God. When you undergo a life-threatening surgery and you, completely alone, are being placed under the bright lights, remember that God is the ultimate source of the greatest comfort you can experience in this lifetime.

Many of us have known people we love very much who are depressed and oppressed. They are nearly always alone and their pain is so intensely private they do not want any of the caring people in their lives to be with them.

Others believe their suffering is so personal they must place themselves in self-imposed solitary confinement.

If that happens to you, I challenge you to make this discovery: God is here, and God can comfort you.

Father of all mercy and comfort, make me know personally that You are the source of all comfort. 

Comfort me in my pain.

When I feel alone and depressed, may I discover that You are here, You are real, and You can comfort me. 

I pray this in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

Dick Woodward, from 30 Biblical Reasons Why God’s People Suffer


(Always) Pray About Everything

May 31, 2019

“…tell God every detail of your needs in earnest and thankful prayer…” (Philippians 4:6)

It’s easy to say, “Don’t worry,” but what are we going to do about our problems if we don’t worry about them? Paul doesn’t leave us in a vacuum when he prescribed: “Pray about everything!”

The Word of God exhorts us to pray when we are in crisis situations. Psalm 46:1 has an alternate reading in the New Standard version, “God is our refuge and strength, abundantly available for help in tight places.” God delivered Paul from many tight places. We should therefore always pray in a crisis:

 “When it’s hardest to pray, pray the hardest!”

However, from personal experience Paul knew that God doesn’t always take our problems away. He had a physical condition that he described as a “thorn in the flesh.” Three times he asked God to take it away.

Paul saw many people miraculously healed as he ministered the healing power of the Holy Spirit to them. Yet, when he asked God to solve his own health problem, three times God said, “No. No. No.”

But God also responded, “My grace is sufficient for you and that is all you need. My strength looks good on weak people.” (2 Corinthians 12) Paul’s weakness drove him to discover the strength of God. When he did, he not only accepted his condition but eventually thanked God in it so God’s power might be showcased in him.

As Paul accepted the will of God regarding his thorn, he learned that the will of God will never lead us where the grace of God cannot keep us.

Paul exhorts us from his personal experience that prayer may deliver us from our problems, or prayer may give us the grace to cope with them. But, in any case, pray.

Always pray about everything!

 Dick Woodward, from A Prescription for Peace


Continuous Peace IN CHRIST

May 14, 2019

“You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is fixed on You, because he trusts in You.” (Isaiah 26:3)

Isaiah wrote of a state of perfect peace in which God can keep us, continuously. According to Isaiah, this state of continuous peace is based on two very important conditions: we must keep our minds centered on God, and we must trust God. This peace is supernatural because we can have it even when the circumstances of our lives are chaotic.

Jesus promised that He gives His followers peace the world will not understand because it comes from Him and can be ours even in the middle of the storms of life. The early followers of Christ were persecuted. While suffering unimaginable cruelty at the hands of their persecutors many died in a state of peace because they had this peace I’m describing.

The Apostle Paul also believed in this peace. In one chapter of one of his letters he listed twelve conditions on which this peace is based. (Philippians, Chapter 4) In another letter Paul described this peace as the fruit and expression of the reality that the Holy Spirit lives in authentic disciples of Jesus.

We may therefore conclude that the basic condition of this peace is that the Holy Spirit lives in us.

“Christ in you” is the foundation on which the conditions of this continuous peace are to be built. (Colossians 1:27)

There is obviously something to believe and Someone to receive when you become a follower of Jesus Christ.

Do you believe? Have you received?

Dick Woodward, 15 May 2009


Psalm 23: A Prescription for Restoration

May 10, 2019

“He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness…” (Psalm 23:3)

In the most popular psalm written by King David, he shares the key to living well and dying well in his opening statement. When we say (& believe) that the Lord is our Shepherd, we can say that we have green pastures, still waters and the knowledge that the paths in which we are moving are the right paths for us.

This all happens when God makes us lie down. But when we get up, the green pastures often turn brown and the still waters are disturbed again.

That’s when David gives a prescription for restoration: my Shepherd-God leads me in the paths of righteousness. This second time David writes ‘He leads me,’ he uses a different Hebrew word that means God drives me into the paths of righteousness, perhaps for some time, even years.

God then uses the discipline of those paths of righteousness to restore my soul.

The word “rehabilitation” in its Latin root means “to invest again with dignity.” It, too, is a prescription for restoration.

When we need restoration and rehabilitation we should not look for what’s cheap. God’s prescription for restoration in the Shepherd Psalm of David is not a cheap prescription.

It takes time and it’s costly, but it works. It has worked for me and for scores of others I know personally.

It can also work for you.

When you suffer great loss you can focus on what you have lost and be depressed, or you can focus on what you still have and be restored.

Are you willing to join me and invest again with dignity?

Dick Woodward, 11 May 2010


#FAITH: Praying with a God-First Mindset

April 26, 2019

…For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.”  (Matthew 6:13)

[In the Disciples Prayer] Our Lord teaches us to begin our prayers with a God first mindset and conclude our prayers with that same focus. We begin our prayers looking through the grid: “Your name be reverenced, Your Kingdom come,” and “Your will be done (in earth and) on earth, just as it is willed and done in heaven.”

We are to conclude our prayers the same way.

Jesus wants us to conclude our prayers by making this commitment to our Heavenly Father: Yours is the Kingdom.”  By this confession, He means for us to pledge to God that the results of our Heavenly Father’s continuously answering our prayers will always belong to Him.

As we face challenges of life every day, we should be poor in spirit enough to confess that we need the power of God: Yours is the power.”  When I have entered into a challenging day, I have confessed this over and over in my journey of faith and ministry by saying, “I can’t, but He can.”

Finally, we are to conclude our prayers by confessing: “Yours is the glory.”  When we apply this third providential benediction, we are simply confessing, “Because I didn’t but God did, all the glory goes to Him.” Jesus prescribes that we conclude our prayers every time we pray by making this solemn commitment to God: The glory for everything that happens in my life because You have answered my prayer(s), will always go to You.”

The essence of this benediction is:  “Because the power always comes from You, the result will always belong to You, and the glory will always go to You.”

Dick Woodward, from A Prescription for Prayer


#Faith: Hope vs. Despair

March 26, 2019

“I would have despaired, unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”  (Psalm 27:13)

The Apostle Paul concludes his great love chapter by profiling three eternal values: faith, hope and love. We know that love is an eternal value because God is loveWe can also understand why faith is one of the three eternal values because faith brings us to God.

But why is hope one of the three great eternal values?

God plants hope, or the conviction that something good exists in this world, in the heart of every human being. When you delve into the lives of many people battling a multitude of challenges, however, you cannot help but wonder how they could believe there is something good in this life.

When I was a college student in Los Angeles my dormitory was located at the end of Hope Street adjacent to the Los Angeles Public Library. The same day I learned in a course that more than 25,000 people committed suicide in 1952 because they lost hope, a man committed suicide by jumping from the top of my dormitory.

The newspaper reporter that day was more eloquent than he knew when he wrote: “An unidentified man jumped to his death today from a tall building at the end of Hope Street.”

David knew that he would despair if he ever lost the conviction God put in his heart the Bible labels hope. Hope is an eternal value because it is meant to lead us to faith, and faith leads us to God.

Let your hope bring you to faith and your faith to God.  And remember that people around you are despairing for the hope you have.

Dick Woodward, 24 March 2013


Three Absolutes of Knowing God

March 5, 2019

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He rewards those who diligently seek Him.”  (Hebrews 11:6)

The truth is when I first came to faith and to the ministry I struggled to know God. Providentially I had several spiritual heavyweights who mentored me to God. They shook things down for me into three basic absolutes that made sense then – and still do today.

Their first proposition is that God is here. I have not struggled much with that proposition, especially reflecting on the many, many ways God responds to the prayers I pray to God here.

Their second proposition is that God is real. I found that when I related myself to God, God responded by relating Himself to me. That inspired me to believe that God is not only here, He is very real when I relate to Him and make personal contact with His divine presence.

When I found myself sharing with God the intimate dimensions of my personal, private and even secret life He responded to those prayers. I realized that I had come to believe in a personal God.

That is the third proposition of my spiritual mentors: God is personal.

They wanted me to believe and come to know God who knows the numbers of hairs on my head. By the grace and providence of God I have come to know that personal God. I believe God when He tells me He has a plan for my life which when followed will make me a unique person.

Do you believe in God Who is here, real and personal?

Dick Woodward, 05 March 2013