Pastor Brad’s Newspaper Column

Prayer: Anytime, Anywhere

By: Pastor Brad Hales
 
   June 18, 2013 is a very special date for me. It was the day that I had the unique opportunity to pray at Congress. In front of the chamber with television lights radiating downward, I was given the awesome privilege to offer prayer at the beginning of that day’s session of the Unites States House of Representatives. Because of living in a constitutional republic which guarantees its citizens the right to the free exercise of religion, I prayed asking God’s blessings upon its people, its government and its military. I also prayed that as a nation we would repent, and turn back to the Lord following the Scriptural words of Joel, “Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love.”
 
   But this is only the tip of the ice burg. As a pastor in Culpeper I have had numerous opportunities to pray at public gatherings in this community. Whether it’s before the meetings of the County Board of Supervisors, Human Services Board, National Cemetery remembrances and funerals, National Day of Prayer activities, or even Culpeper Medical Center events where the plaque in the front lobby of the building clearly expresses that the hospital was dedicated to the Glory of God, I have prayed. And it is my sincere hope that one day I will be offered the invitation to pray at the beginning of the Culpeper County School Board Meetings asking God’s blessings, protection and safety upon the students, faculty, staff and administration.
 
   Prayer is a good thing. I realize that there are some who do not practice it or believe in its effectiveness. I realize that that are some who only think it should be done privately. I realize that there are some who are afraid of praying thinking that they are doing it the “wrong way.” But I’m here to tell you that prayer is a wonderful, free, gift of God. It can be done anytime or anywhere, as we are guaranteed that the Lord will hear and respond to our petitions. In fact, Holy Scripture is filled with numerous examples of prayer. We’re told that Jesus frequently went away to a private place to pray. In the Gospel of Luke Christ himself provides us with the framework of the Lord’s Prayer. And the Apostle Paul writes in Philippians 4:6, “do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”
When we pray we gain strength, encouragement, and the knowledge that Jesus is with us and helping us in our hour of need and trial. When I was a seminary student years ago in my training to become a pastor my new wife and I had little money to live. So little, that we didn’t know how we were going to eat and pay our bills. So, we prayed. Then one day, out of the blue, this letter came to our apartment with a check. And here is what the note said. “I’m not sure why, but I felt that I needed to send this money for you today.” Answered prayer! Through prayer, I’ve seen people healed. Through prayer, I’ve seen people delivered from darkness. And through prayer, I’ve seen people gain hope and meaning for their lives.
 
   Even though we may live in a world that scoffs at the notion of power in prayer, please do it! If you meet someone in public and they have a need, pray for them right there. If you’re on the phone and someone is struggling, pray for them right there. If you’re online and someone needs direction and comfort, instant message them and pray for them right there. Let us not be inhibited to pray for our governmental institutions, leaders, and other situations, because when we pray, things will happen through the grace of the living God in Jesus Christ of Nazareth. As Holy Scripture compels us in II Chronicles 7:14, “If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

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CHURCH: Drawn in by The Light

By Pastor Brad Hales

     They were drawn in by the light.  In the late 1980’s I was a volunteer youth group leader for a church in Northwestern Ohio.  The senior high young adults had gathered one Sunday evening for a Christmas party in the basement of the building.  I vividly remember one, long table adorned with food, drink and frosted covered sugar cookies.  Unfortunately, only a few of the youth attended the event, as we wondered what could be done with the remaining edible items.  As the evening was winding down, a faint knock was heard coming from the glass, outside door leading into the church.

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God And Government – There Is A Connection

Pastor Brad Hales

     We’re in the center of a frenzy.  Colorful signs with bold names adorn yards and are situated by the sides of roads.  An endless stream of glossy postcards with messages of pro and con arrive daily in our postal boxes.  Robo calls invade our homes day and night trying to convince us of appeal and support.  Passionate believers knock at our doors, extolling the virtues of their worthwhile candidates.  It’s election time for our constitutional republic.


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500 Years and Counting

By Pastor Brad Hales
 
     October 31, 2017. According to the calendar it’s on a Tuesday. The day when both young and old alike will adorn themselves in an array of costumes soliciting for candy, and partying on the unofficial American holiday known as Halloween. But there is something even more significant happening on this date, and it all began five hundred years ago. In a little town nestled in the Northeastern territory of Germany called Wittenberg, a certain monk, university professor and Roman Catholic Priest started a revolution that would change the history of the world, and his name was Martin Luther.
Luther, who grew in a rigid, discipline oriented household, was not raised for spiritual pursuits. His father, a mining manager, wanted his son to study law. But during a severe thunderstorm, fearing for his life, young Luther prayed to St. Anne for protection, vowing to become a monk if he was spared. Luther lived, so his religious journey began. In his early years Luther never felt that he was good enough for God. He never believed that he could rise to God’s love and standards. But that all changed when he finally had the opportunity to study the New Testament in the Holy Scriptures. After reading Romans 3:28, “For we conclude that a person is justified by God through faith, not by works by the law,” Luther realized that we are saved not by works, but only by a free gift of faith in Jesus Christ. This finally freed Luther to live in God’s eternal love.

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