CLIFF BALTZELL, who was manager of our printing plant at the international headquarters office for many years, related this story which illustrates the power of prayer.
“Sister Crawford had asked me to work in the printing plant during the large tent camp meeting of 1920, which was the first camp meeting held on the Woodstock campground. I was then nearly sixteen years of age, and the Apostolic Faith Mission and printing plant were located at the southeast corner of Front and Burnside streets, at the approach to the old Burnside draw-bridge over the Willamette River.
“The plant, which was on the ground floor of the Mission building, started production of tracts in June of 1917, on a Chandler and Price 12 x 18 inch hand-fed job press. As expansion occurred, equipment was purchased which included a Miehle cylinder press for printing papers. When I started to work at the plant in 1920, I noticed that white-encircled numbers were painted on some of the press parts, and I asked the reason why.
“I was told that all of the parts had been so numbered when the press had been dismantled sometime in the past before we had purchased it, still dismantled. When this dismantled press had arrived at Front and Burnside in 1919, some of the men had attempted to figure out how to reassemble the press again so that our printers could begin to produce our papers on it. (Previously all our Apostolic Faith printing of papers had been printed by outside fi rms.) But, our men just couldn’t make much progress. Prayer was made concerning this matter. Then, a miracle occurred!
“A stranger off of Burnside Street attended the Front and Burnside Mission, and prayed through to salvation. He was taken downstairs to see the printing plant. When this stranger saw the pile of unassembled numbered press parts, he broke the good news. He was the man who had demonstrated this same Miehle Press at the Chicago Columbia Exposition of 1892 and 1893. He knew where every press part belonged, and set about putting all of the parts back together again! Soon, he had the press in operation!”
The disciples tarried in prayer before the Day of Pentecost. Prayer meeting preceded the Azusa outpouring in 1906. The concept of Prayer was chosen as the first of three keys in our mission statement. It reads: “We make prayer the basis of every ministry and encourage communion with God as the way we grow to spiritual maturity in Him.” Prayer has been a vital part of the Apostolic Faith work from the beginning. Workers gather in a prayer room before services; prayer is made during every service; altar services conclude the meetings. The headquarters office staff prays over outgoing literature and correspondence. Our organization has seen wonderful answers to prayer over the years.
1. How do you know that God answers prayer?
2. One Christian writer said, “Prayer is verbalizing God’s purpose and God’s provision in your life and submitting to it.” Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Why?
3. What steps can we take to develop a regular prayer life? What are the benefits of doing so?
Pauline Martin, who was saved in 1921, used to tell this story in her testimony. “An Apostolic Faith paper came to our home when I was about two years old. My mother was happy to get that paper, and after she read it, she prayed and God saved her. From then on, whenever those papers would arrive from Portland, Mother would read them to us children. She brought us up in the Light of the Gospel.
“When I was about three years old, I became ill with rheumatic fever. It seemed like I was in bed forever, and I remember crying out, ‘Momma, pray!’ She would reply, ‘Momma’s praying.’ Mother had a lot of work to do; she cooked for the field hands, and she had a family to care for. But as she went about doing her work, she would pray.
“One day, as she was working in the house and praying, I called to her, ‘Momma, take these night clothes off me and dress me!’ I remember standing next to the bed—the top of the mattress was taller than my head—and I suddenly ran to mother! I had not walked for weeks, but now I could run! God had healed me in an instant of time. That was the first, but certainly not the last miracle of healing that God performed in our family.”