Richard Exley Ministries


What to Do When Your World is Falling Apart
Posted on July 18, 2009

"Your crisis may not come as a devastating medical diagnosis, but given time you will face things that will rock your world. So what can you do when your world is crashing down around you?"

Although medical science has made significant advances in recent years, a diagnosis of cancer still has the power to overwhelm. Let the doctor’s diagnosis include “Stage three,” and the level of fear ratchets up yet again. And should the prognosis include a life expectancy of less than two years the effect can be absolutely devastating. That’s what someone very close to me is facing as I write today’s blog. In two weeks time, her world has gone from safe and secure to one of fearful uncertainty and confusion. Needless to say my heart goes out to her and her family.

So where do they go from here? What do they do now? Of course, they’re going to get the best medical advice available before deciding on a course of treatment, but beyond that what can they do? For that matter, what can any of us do when our world is falling apart?

Category: Dealing with Crisis

Click here to read more

Prayer's Unimaginable Possibilities
Posted on September 09, 2008

I hate to admit it, but I sometimes have a hard time believing that the words I say to God in the privacy of my prayer closet can effect the rise and fall of governments and the course of history. I choose to believe intercessory prayer has that kind of power because the Bible says it does and history has shown it to be true, but it is not easy. So often my prayers feel small and irrelevant, more like an exercise in futility than a world shaping joint venture with God. Reminding myself that when you fill a pond with rocks the first one hundred loads disappear beneath the surface of the water without leaving a trace helps some, but I still struggle. What helps even more is to review what has happened in the last twenty years.

In the 1970’s a minister “prophesied” that the Soviet Union would collapse and that following its collapse, there would be a great spiritual awaking in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet block countries.  I managed not to snicker when I heard about his prophecy, but just barely.  I told someone that it was a good thing we didn’t stone false prophets or that man would surely be put to death. 

As far as I was concerned there was no way his prophecy was going to come true. The Soviet Union was a super power, an atheistic government that persecuted Christians and the possibility of its demise was inconceivable to me.  I should have reread Daniel, especially that part about a rock not made by human hands.  Daniel put it like this:  “This is the meaning of the vision of the rock cut out of a mountain, but not by human hands...the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people.  It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever” (Daniel 2:45, 44).

Category: Dealing with Crisis

Click here to read more

Prayer Is A Privilege
Posted on May 19, 2008

While I am truly thankful for the privilege of prayer I must confess that I’ve never been very good at it. My mind wanders. I get distracted or I put off praying until the demands of the day crowd it out. Over the years I’ve tried any number of things to improve my prayer life – joining a prayer group, writing out my prayers, keeping a prayer journal – and while they work for a time I soon find myself slipping back into my haphazard way of praying. It embarrasses me to tell you this but I don’t feel I can write about the privilege of prayer without coming clean about my own inaptitude.
 
I know all the things I should do – reserve a special place to meet with God, have a set time for prayer, make myself accountable to another person, preferably someone who has mastered the discipline of prayer, and most of all pray whether I feel like it or not. After all we learn to pray the same way we learn to ride a bike – by doing it. I know the importance of praying the Scriptures and of praying God-centered prayers rather than need-centered prayers. My problem isn’t knowledge but discipline. I know all I need to know about praying I just don’t pray as faithfully as I should.

Although I’ve received many remarkable answers to prayer, which we will get to in a minute, I still grow weary of praying when my prayers seem to be making no apparent difference. I mean, why pray if nothing changes. Reminding myself that when one fills a pond the first hundred truckloads of rock disappear under the surface of the water without leaving a trace helps some but I still have to struggle with discouragement. Reminding myself that the primary purpose of prayer is not petition but relationship, about spending time with the Lord, helps some. Unfortunately it is often as hard for me to sense His presence as it is for me to see His answers.

If prayer is so frustrating, you may be wondering, why do I continue praying? I’m sure a sense of duty has something to do with it but it is more than that.  At the core of my being I have a heart hunger for God, a yearning to know Him and be known by Him. It is an “itch” that only prayer can scratch. I may not be very good at prayer, I may even stray from it from time to time, but always I am drawn back. What breath is to my body prayer is to my spirit. Without prayer I simply cannot survive.

Category: Dealing with Crisis

Click here to read more

A Moment of Grace
Posted on March 22, 2007

The truth of Christianity is not that it immunes us from the vicissitudes and sufferings so common to this life, but that it empowers us to live with meaning in the midst of unspeakable loss.

Leaving the RCA Dome I turned toward the hotel, depression dogging my steps. I should have felt exhilarated, or at least deeply satisfied, but I didn’t. Being one of the speakers at the annual Bill Gaither Praise Gathering was a high honor; one I never expected to have, still, all I felt in the aftermath of my second session was an aching emptiness. The sessions had gone well enough, with lots of positive affirmation, but I couldn’t seem to wring any joy out of the experience.

For the better part of two years I had been living in a fog. Somehow I managed to minister with surprising effectiveness, but nothing I did touched the sadness that was slowing sucking life out of me. Day after day I forced myself to go through the motions, desperately hoping this would be the day some light returned to my gray existence, but it never happened. Instead the gloom seemed to deepen, causing me to doubt if I would ever again know the joy that once characterized my life.

Category: Dealing with Crisis

Click here to read more