'When you pray say, "Our Father"' (Luke 11:2)Things were difficult in the prison in Czechoslovakia where I was imprisoned for Bible smuggling; in the first few months it seemed as if God did not answer any of my prayers. When I prayed for food, there was none, when I prayed that my wife would come, she was not allowed a visa to visit me - it seemed that every prayer that I prayed, God said no. I began to despair. We had to get up at 6.00 am every morning and sit for hours on a wooden stool embedded with nails. It was torture. In the first six months I wasn't allowed out of my cell - my food and my toilet were in the cell. I lost so much weight. However, I would try to pray in those early hours before the guards brought the mouldy black bread and foul tasting, drug laced drink which was our only breakfast.
One morning when I had been three months in that cell, I cried out in desperation that I could not pray anymore because, I said, "Oh God, every time I pray, You say no! When I want the food parcels my family send, or a visit from my wife, or for me to be found not guilty in the court and be set free, always the answer is no! I don't know how to pray anymore, everything I ask for, it's no!" I sat there, not knowing what to do. "Oh God, if You don't hear me, I'd rather die, because life has no purpose, no meaning if You don't answer me." While I was still saying, "Oh God, I cannot pray anymore", I remembered the words in the Bible (I had no Bible in the prison - it was forbidden) when the disciples had asked Jesus how to pray, and He said, "When you pray say..." - and I began hesitantly to say those words, 'Our Father' - but as I did so, I began to argue, I cannot say 'our', that's plural - I'm alone in here, no family, no friends, no believers, how can I speak in the plural? I have to say MY Father. Suddenly I knew the reality of those words, He is mine - He is my Father!
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