In a fellowship an elderly brother asked me a question. "Brother Zhao, what prayer is the shortest and most effective?" Thinking for a long time, I couldn't come up with an answer.
He then told me one of his experiences with a smile.
His surname was Zhang. At over 70 he encountered a rare flood in Fushun, in northeastern China's Liaoning Province, on August 16, 2013.
At that time his wife, who had been in bed for a decade due to cerebral thrombus, had just passed away. In a bad mood he hurt his leg, resulting in a fracture in his lower leg. Lying in bed and unable to move, he had never felt so lonely. He said, "I would lose the hope to live without my faith." He read the Bible every day, placing himself in the environment the Bible describes and reflecting on the differences between his thought and what the Bible demands.
The situation recorded in Matthew 14:30 impressed him greatly. It says, "Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, 'Lord, save me!' Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him." (Matthew 14:29-31)
Reading these verses, Zhang wondered if he would lose his faith in the word of the Lord in a situation similar to Peter's. Considering for a moment, he finally shook his head. He thought that he would not be doubtful and fearful if he were Peter, since he knows the that Lord is God and He performed many miraculous signs and wonders. Affirming his faith, he couldn't understand Peter's cowardice. However, he experienced walking on the surging water three nights later.
On that day dark clouds massed and it was raining cats and dogs with a stiff wind. The upper reaches of the city's reservoir were shrouded in misty rain.
He shared that he had never seen such a heavy downpour in his life. It reminded him of Noah's days flooding with rain. Like frightened buffalo herds, the roaring flood dashed against everything. Soon the houses in the valley were submerged. It was too late to escape and the people around them climbed on to the roofs. But Zhang, with a broken leg, could do nothing but watch the water flooding into his house. Seeing the plank bed where he was lying being lifted almost to the roof, he cried out like Peter, "Lord, save me!"
Amazingly, the water stopped rising and began to subside quickly just after he spoke. He learned from that experience that the Immanuel God is an ever-present helper, and also that the most effective prayer comes out of desire deep in one's heart.
Translated by Karen Luo