“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).

From the life of Bishop Desmond Tutu, Philip Yancey illustrates the necessity of praying when our spirits are battered by grievous events. For two years, Bishop Tutu chaired the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings in South Africa. He heard the endless stories of gruesome beatings, torture, and “necklacing” with burning tires. The tales of atrocities would numb anyone’s soul. When asked why he prayed, Bishop Tutu gave this response: “If your day starts off wrong, it stays skewed. What I’ve found is that getting up a little earlier and tying to have an hour of quiet in the presence of God, mulling over some Scripture, supports me. I try to have two, three hours of quiet per day…when I go on the treadmill for thirty minutes, I use that time for intercession.” Yancey says that Tutu would then put on his judicial commission robes and try to bring truth and reconciliation to the land. What we face each day has its own pressures and discouragements, even if they don’t compare to the terrible stories from post-apartheid South Africa. We have the same opportunity as Bishop Tutu to seek that hour of quiet in God’s presence or to pray as we exercise. We bring our prayer requests, confession, and praise as we deal with raw experiences. Philip writes, “The musician Bono once asked Tutu how he managed to find time for prayer and meditation. Tutu replied, ‘What are you talking about? Do you think we’d be able to do this stuff if we didn’t?’”

Adapted from “The One Year Book of Encouragement”