FROM THE BEGINNING…
GOD IS FAITHFUL. In May 2014, the united prayer ministry of Women’s Prayer International entered into its 17th year. It is certainly a time of reflection for me in serving as the Founder and President for 17 years. May my message encourage you to reflect on God’s faithfulness and mercy to you in your life and bring you hope.
Seventeen years as the Founder and President, has been, is now, and I believe will continue to be an adventurous spiritual journey with the Lord in the valleys and on the mountain tops. When I ponder the faithfulness of God my heart is filled with wonder and thankfulness. The closest way to express it is thorough Psalm 40:5 “Many, O Lord my God, are Your wonderful works which You have done; And Your thoughts toward us cannot be recounted to You in order; If I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.”
Frankly, without God’s word in my life, I could not have survived. His words have guided me, convicted me, and encouraged me. I take comfort knowing that He is opening doors that no man can shut and shutting doors that no man can open. Revelation 3:8 says, “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.” This verse continues to be a source of courage when I am discouraged. And quite frankly without the encouragement of God’s people who have supported me and the ministry through the years, I would not have survived. My hope and prayer is that I will honor them daily with my prayers and support.
My heart is bursting to share with you where God has me this year in my walk with Him – A deeper faith and more courage! There are so many scriptures that I want to live out each day. At the beginning of each year I ask God for a scripture that will show me what is utmost on His heart for this new year and so that I may live it out for His highest purpose and glory. One scripture especially meaningful was from Oswald Chamber’s My Utmost for His Highest. It was as if it was written specifically for me. I wrote it in my prayer journal January 1, 2014: – “My eager desire and hope being that I may never feel ashamed, but that now as ever I may do honor to Christ in my own person by fearless courage.” (Philippians 1:20) KEEP TO THE POINT in 2014 – A surrender of my will, an absolute and irrevocable surrender on that point. – Faith and Courage. Do I believe in a miracle working God, and will I go out in surrender to Him until I am not surprised an atom at anything He does? Will I step out in faith and risk that if God is not in it, it will fail? Do I believe that God is faithful to His word and will establish the work of His hand through me and WPI? Do I trust God to be true to His word in Matthew 6:33 “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you?” The irrevocable answer is “Yes, Lord, I surrender all. Here I am Lord, use me.”
Friends, a great hope and belief are in my heart for the days ahead for myself, my family, the ministry of WPI and for a transforming revivals in our cities and nations. My desire is to live a life of prayer so that the life of Christ will live in and through me to serve others and be a small part of advancing Christ’s kingdom all for the glory of God.
Praise God that He, Who has begun a good work in you and in me, will complete it until the day Jesus takes us to our eternal home or He comes again for His bride, His church. God is forever faithful! Joan Courtney, WPI Founder/CEO
As Mother’s Day nears I have thought of my mother so much more than in times past. Lucille Ione Smith Daniel was born on April 20, 1906 and passed on to her heavenly home at the age of eighty-nine on April 27, 1995. Writing this tribute to her has three purposes. First, even though I have so far to go to be the Godly woman I desire to be, I am who I am in the Lord today because of how my mother raised me and because of her prayers for me. The second purpose is to encourage others to not give up in praying for their children and to give them hope. The third purpose is that the reader will be intentional in making a love connection with their mother whether she is living or has passed.
I praise God that my mother and father loved the Lord and took me to church starting with the church nursery. Already having a son in the Marines, a son in middle school, and an eighteen month old baby daughter, my mother birthed me at the age of thirty-seven. It was not a planned pregnancy, but it was God’s plan.
My mother was not a perfect mother, but she was close. The most precious thing I remember about my mother is that even though I was a rascal, I knew she loved me. She made me believe that I was special. I suppose because I was the “baby” of the family, I was somewhat spoiled. Truly, I hope that I have grown out of most of that characteristic. I am thankful that she disciplined me, even spanked me until I got too old to spank. As I got older, she would punish me by not letting me do something or by not getting something. I am thankful for her instilling me the concept of “right and wrong”.
To those of you who have been praying for a child who is not living a Godly lifestyle or doesn’t have an intimate walk with the Lord, I promise you and God promises you, there is hope. Proverbs 22:6 says it well — “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” I was baptized when I was a teenager. However, as an Airline Flight Attendant at the age of eighteen, I drifted away from the concepts of morality and Biblical principles. In adulthood I believed that Jesus was only a prophet, not the Son of God. But, my mother was still praying for me and “the hounds of heaven” continued to pursue me. At the age of thirty-four in September, 1976, I said the sinner’s prayer, a prayer I had heard all my life. For the first time I realized that I was a sinner, and if I was a sinner, I needed a Savior. This time, God had gotten hold of my heart. The head knowledge about Jesus and the scriptures I had memorized as a child flooded my heart. I have never been the same and can still say after thirty-eight years, “Yes, Jesus in the Son of God, the only way to heaven.” — John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.’” Believe it, God is working in the unseen and is answering your prayers to bring your child to the saving knowledge of Jesus. Don’t lose heart!
I hope that in some way that sharing my heart with you will encourage you to make a love connection with your mother if she is still living, even if you have been estranged over the years. If she has passed on, you may want to write a letter and share your heart with her. This is what I have done by writing this article. Joan Courtney, WPI Founder/CEO