I was on this guys trip, sort of a men’s
retreat/fishing excursion, with a group of guys I don’t know real well.
Anyhow, the fishing was lousy and so was the weather and we were
getting pretty discouraged about that. (At least, I sure was). I was
praying about it in my room one morning before breakfast, and I sensed
God say, “Teach them to pray.” Meaning, explain what you think is going
on, and show them how you pray about this sort of thing. I was
reluctant. I wasn’t sure what their take would be, and I didn’t want to
come off as the fruit cake in the group.
But, over breakfast I suggested we pray about the weather and the
fishing. “Huh,” said one guy. “I don’t think about praying over stuff
like this.” “Well,” I said, “just look at what you’ve got. Joy is being
stolen. That sure looks suspicious to me. It smacks of the thief. The
enemy hates joy. Maybe things will change if we pray about it.”
Now, I knew what I was risking. If we pray about this and nothing
happens, it’s just so discouraging and it adds to that general unbelief
most Christians live with, like a cold or a low grade fever that never
goes away, that nagging malaise of unbelief that says, “See, prayer
doesn’t really work. Or my prayers don’t.” So it felt risky. It also
felt risky because I knew in order for something to change we would
have to pray in a way not very common to most Christian guys. We can’t
just shoot up a “Jesus, be with us” prayer. Those are for the most part
impotent. We’re going to have to really pray, and that’s what God was
up to earlier in the morning when he said, “Teach them.”
I sort took an internal breath and said, “OK. Let’s do this.” I led
them in prayer, first sanctifying the entire trip to Jesus Christ.
That’s level one. You’ve got to get things under the protection of
Jesus by bringing them under his covering. Sanctifying things to him.
Then we brought the full work of Christ against the thief. With
intention. We prayed for the weather to stand down, by the authority of
Jesus Christ. We prayed the fish would co-operate. We prayed like we
meant it. Afterwards, I’m feeling like, “You are really out there now
buddy. They think you are borderline anyways, and if this doesn’t work
it gives them more reason to dismiss you.” I look up (I’m sitting at
the breakfast table) and in front of me is the ketchup bottle. Now,
it’s been passed around the table a lot, but at this very moment it’s
facing me, and the words “Taste and Believe” are staring at me.
I crack up. I know its God. He’s been after me on “believe” for a while
now. I know this is from him. It’s just his sense of humor to use the
ketchup to speak to me. Okay. Taste and believe. We go out into the
day, and yep – the weather stands down, the fish cooperate. I tasted. I
What I love about this story is the playfulness of God, and his ability
to speak to us in all sorts of ways. We know he is with us always. We
also know he is creative. So he’ll use whatever it takes to get our
attention. A burning bush. Or a ketchup bottle.