18. PRAY WITHOUT CEASING
“Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing.” (1st Thessalonians 5:16 & 17)
From 5 December 1973 thru 12 February 1975, I was a U.S. Marine Corps captain and pilot stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan, flying the A-4 Skyhawk and the A-6 Intruder jet attack aircraft here and there in Japan and to air bases in Okinawa, the Philippines, Taiwan and South Korea. Guys, you talk about exciting adventure, now that flying certainly was! Read more details of such in my autobiography.
My first flight to South Korea from Iwakuni was on Friday 17 May 1974 to Osan Air Force Base not far from Seoul, South Korea. Two TA-4 Skyhawks flew there in formation, each with a pilot and co-pilot, 4 of us Marine aviators. Upon landing at Osan, I got a room in the officers’ quarters, showered, changed clothes and then walked out into town to do some shopping, as men’s suits and warm sweaters were very cheap in Korea then.
On walking back onto the base, a South Korean Air Force Major in uniform stops me to ask me where the base chapel is. He thinks I’m stationed at this base and that I would know where everything is on base. Tho I just arrived here today for the first time, I had noticed the chapel as I walked from my quarters to the base gate, so I gave him directions to it. He said that there was a service in the chapel tonight and invited me to come.
I hasten on to the officers’ mess hall to eat supper first, (plenty hungry) having been most busy today and not having eaten much. Then I walk to the chapel to attend that service with about 20 other Americans and a few Korean Christians. It was a good service, and I was blessed.
Major Chung got up with me in the chapel after the service ended, soon saying, “Let’s pray together.” So, sitting on a chapel pew together, I prayed and then he prayed. He talked some more, then “Let’s pray”, he again calls on me. So we do, and he repeats that a few more times. Oh, he was fervent in prayer. “Come see my church,” he invites me. So I gladly walk out the base gate with him to the church that he pastors out in town, tho he is a full time major in the South Korean Air Force.
He leads me into the somewhat large sanctuary, does not turn on any lights, and we pray several times as he asks me to ask Christians in the U.S. to pray for the Christians in South Korea. In South Korea, they somewhat felt like the wolf was at the door, with communist North Korea threatening them with invasion.
Oh, Major Chung prayed with such earnestness that I felt ashamed of my puny praying. Soon he took me to his house, a small most simple building next to the church. There I met his 2 daughters and smaller son. All 3 children were quite small, and alone at that time, even tho it was night. Major Chung said his wife was holding a church teacher’s meeting (in a small room in the church nearby, I think.) I never met her.
His children were plenty quiet and timid in my presence. I couldn’t speak their language (Korean) and they couldn’t speak my language. Soon he goes with me walking back to the gate of the base and turns back home from me there at the gate, urging me for the last of several times, to pray for the Christians in Korea. That visit with Major Chung was a rich experience for me, my first day in Korea. After that, I again flew to South Korea in my military planes a half dozen times or more, but never got the chance to see Major Chung again.
“Pray without ceasing.” Our Lord commands us to do that. Think honestly how far short we fall from doing that. Major Chung’s prayer life challenged me to be more diligent in praying. It is most important for us Christian believers to constantly call upon our Lord to fight our battles for us, to protect us from the devil and his evil devices, and such. We should intercede much in prayer for our brothers and sisters in Christ thru out the world who are in much more danger from the enemy’s attacks intending to harm, imprison, and even kill them. And we should constantly intercede to God to save lost souls around us locally.
“And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him.” (Isaiah 59:16)
“Abba Father in Heaven, please reveal unto me the vast importance of this word intercessor being this one time only in Thy Holy Bible. Reveal to me the importance of a Christian believer unceasingly interceding to Thee in Prayer. Reveal to me the Mighty Spiritual Power in intercessory prayer. Reveal to me the great extent to which Thou doest delight in us interceding unto Thee, and how ready Thou art to answer those prayers, in accordance to Thy Divine Will.
“Please cause me to understand how greatly Thou doest marvel and wonder in disappointment when Thine Eyes search thru out the entire earth, but you find no intercessor. By Thy Almighty Power, please make me into a mighty intercessor. Please create within me a burning desire to talk to my Creator God more than I talk to any human being. Please give me victory over the natural tendency of human flesh to constantly talk to other people, but to seldom talk to God. Bring me up to the much higher Spiritual Plateau of interceding unceasingly unto Almighty God.
“I pray this for all other people on earth also. Please sustain Missionary Richard to always be fervent in intercessory prayer. Please give him much fruit for his interceding and preaching Christ in Japan. Amen.”
Richard Yerby (Matsuida, Japan) www.Christ-is-all.us