Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 2, 1961

"Mah Prayer Done Gone Wit' De Stohm"

Tom M. Roberts, Newport, N. C.

In September, 1960, Hurricane Donna completely justified the process of naming all such storms after the oscillating nature of women. Beginning deep in the Atlantic, southeast of the United States mainland, she twisted and turned, wobbled and veered, first this way and then another while at the same time keeping a broad, general path toward Miami, Florida. Puerto Rico was in her path and felt her fury. Cuba managed to escape with only one corner of the island catching the main force of the turbulence. Various other small islands in the vicinity were hard hit as Donna meandered slowly through the islands, gradually picking up forward speed while packing winds close to the center of 100-135 miles per hour. Behind her lay demolished houses, uprooted trees, floods, evacuated towns, and death.

Moving slowly forward, Donna approached Miami. The older residents boarded up expecting the worst. Some of the younger generations, more foolhardy than the older, experienced folk proceeded to hold "Hurricane Parties" with dance bands and all the trimmings. Veering slightly westward, the main part of Donna missed Miami and laid her fierce winds across the Florida Keys like a cyclone magnified tens of times. This area was extremely hard hit (later declared a disaster area) and suffered extensive damage. The main body of the storm then passed on into the Gulf of Mexico.

The inhabitants of North Carolina, where I now reside, began to breathe easier and feel more relaxed. But some of the old "salts" kept warning to keep a "weather-eye peeled." It was then that this storm vindicated her female characteristic and turned abruptly northeast and came ripping and roaring back across the Floridian peninsula in the Tampa-Orlando area, out into the Atlantic once again and directly for North Carolina! The area from Wilmington to Cape Hatteras (with Newport in between), familiar to such antics, bent their backs and waited stoically for the wind that was sure to come. Donna roared through here beginning about 10:00 P. M. Sunday evening, with the "eye" soon directly over us. She took roofs, houses, trees, club-houses, motels, and even whole strips of the sea shore along with her. (This area also was declared a disaster area.) And in almost every house, from the shanty to the expensive mansion, inhabitants prayed to the Lord to deliver them. It has been said that there are "no atheists in the foxhole." I am convinced that the same is true with regard to the mighty hurricane. When the shingles begin to be torn from the roof (or the entire roof comes off!), trees bend double or break, windows are blown out, etc., the most natural position is on your knees! Few fail to find it.

But, given time, the storm passed on into the New England states and amazingly, the next morning, the sun was blindingly bright. Not a cloud could be seen in the sky and were it not for the havoc strewn in all directions, the hurricane would have seemed like a nightmare. Homeowners began to make repairs and farmers went to their fields to assess the damage done to the crops. In this agricultural section, it was extensive. But now to the point of this article.

One of the elders of the Newport congregation, R. L. Simmons, being a farmer, took some colored hands into the fields to salvage what was left of some of his crops. Turning to one of the negro women, he asked her if she prayed during the hurricane. "Yessuh, Yessuh I" was her quick reply. She had prayed "right much," asking for deliverance. Commenting on the fact that she had, in fact, been delivered and now stood out in the bright sun, alive and healthy, brother Simmons inquired if she had thanked the Lord for her deliverance. To this embarrassing question the woman replied, "Ah guess mah prayah done gone wit' de stohm I"

How much of human nature is revealed in this statement! Such an attitude was revealed by 9 of the 10 lepers who felt the power and mercy of Jesus. And so is our attitude so often after our troubles and dangers have been lifted. During the ordeal, how quick are we to "assume the position" and pray mightily for deliverance. But what happens after our prayers are answered? Do we truly appreciate such deliverance as indeed God-sent? How often is our appreciation expressed in thanksgiving? Too often, the answer must be in the common trend — our prayers go when the troubles go. Are we not like the Negro lady when we allow our prayers to end with the end of the affliction? Are we not thus indicted for ingratitude?

Prayer is the mainstay of the Christian — but not only "requests and supplications." There should be the continuous offering of thanksgiving to God whose blessings endure forever. Consider what the writers of the N. T. had to say on the subject of being thankful in the following passages listed for your study: Acts 4:19ff; 1 Cor. 1:4; Rom. 1:8; 6:17; 2 Cor. 2:14; Eph. 1:15, 16; 6:18; Phil. 1:3-6; 4:6; Col. 1:3; 2:17; 1 Thess. 1:3; 5:18; 2 Thess. 1:3; 1 Tim. 1:12; 2 Tim. 1:3; Philemon 1:4.