On Prayer & Jill Carroll; Fleeces & CFC.

I’ve been praying for Jill Carroll everyday for a few months now. She’s the journalist held in Iraq whose captors issued demands for cash and threatened to kill her were the demands not met. On more than one occasion the date came and went. Video footage showed her under duress and all seemed lost.

In the 90’s I interviewed Terry Waite and Father Jenco, both of whom were kidnapped in Lebanon and were later released. Remembering their stories of loneliness, fear, sleepless nights, deprivation helped me visualize Jill’s plight. Sometimes I actually felt like I was there with her when I prayed–and I’m not even an official mystic!

There’s something interesting about praying for someone you don’t know personally–you begin to know the person and by March 30, 2006, Jill seemed a friend not a stranger. When it comes to prayer here is who I am: I pray with faith believing, but I am full of doubts about the effectiveness of my prayers. Quite honestly, when it comes to Jill, I was more prepared to mourn than celebrate, even though I earnestly prayed for Jill’s safety and release each day. I’m a really fallen not even official mystic.

This morning at 9AM when I heard on the news that Jill Carroll was released I felt a surge of excitement I could not contain. I even started to call people to tell them the good news. Some of them didn’t even know who Jill was, but they shared my excitement.

I took time to write her name down on my Thanks list, which is the place I chronicle answered prayers. It is amazing how the daily discipline of prayer is rewarding, not just in the answers received, but in the process of living life each day in God’s presence and allowing other people’s concerns to become as important as your own.


My first thought when Jill Carroll was released was “this was so much more important than our CFC fleece, which will be answered by tomorrow (March 31, 2006). Praying for other people helps put our personal prayer requests in perspective.

For those who don’t know what a “fleece” is I’ll remind you of the story of Gideon.

For those who don’t know what our Center for Faith and Culture (CFC) fleece is: in mid February, we placed our new media plans (broadcast, podcast & retreat) in the hands of God and our friends & donors by asking for ($)50,000 dollars in new pledges and ($) 30,000 dollars of those pledges paid in by March 31, 2006. (Our annual budget will be ($) 365,000 dollars).

The Bible talks about a prayer fleece only once. The enemies of Israel, the Midianites and the Amalekites, were prepared to attack and Israel’s military leader Gideon wanted clear direction from God regarding whether to go to battle or not.

“We read in Judges 6: Then Gideon said to God, “In order to see whether you will deliver Israel by my hand, as you have said, 37 I am going to lay a fleece of wool on the threshing floor; if there is dew on the fleece alone, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that you will deliver Israel by my hand, as you have said.” 38 And it was so. When he rose early next morning and squeezed the fleece, he wrung enough dew from the fleece to fill a bowl with water. Then Gideon said to God, “Do not let your anger burn against me, let me speak one more time; let me, please, make trial with the fleece just once more; let it be dry only on the fleece, and on all the ground let there be dew.” And God did so that night. It was dry on the fleece only, and on all the ground there was dew.”

Friday March 31, 2006. is a big day for us at CFC and for me personally, because by Friday March 31, 2006 we’ll know whether God has delivered our CFC first benchmark miracle or not.

From the start we’ve asked people to pray and ask God what, if anything, they should do financially to help us launch CFC Media.

I could tell you where things stand as of today, but I’d rather people not give money because I ask them to–I’d rather that they pray and ask if they are supposed to help us.

Throughout the month I’ve been afraid if I told my friends how much has come on and how much is still needed, one of them would say, let me write the check for the rest! (But what if God wanted them to give less than that amount? Or what if they were supposed to give more?)

It is a scary thing to place your future in other people’s hands. A few of you have sent gifts (some large and some small) with wonderful notes about your prayers for us at CFC. One friend has been e-mailing every other day because he believes our vision is supposed to happen, but is afraid people won’t really ask God or listen for God’s will!

All I can tell you is this. If God is capable of securing the release of Jill Carroll because He willed it–God is capable of helping us meet this financial goal.

So if you’d like to join in the fun of praying and trusting God. Pray. Ask God if you are supposed to support CFC and if so, in what amount. Then make your pledge. Any gifts in envelopes postmarked March 31, 2006 will count (PO Box 77385, Seattle, WA, 98177), and online gifts can be made through paypal (remembering they take a % fee).

AND if you pray and are not led to give—so be it.

My wife has been confident all along that God is going to meet this fleece. I’ve not been so sure–but then I am a man who prays believing each day, but is a really fallen not even official mystic.

Yours for the pursuit of God in the company of friends, Dick Staub.

PS. And remember, “these are the best of times and the worst of times, but they are the only times we have.” (For Now).

PS 2. If you haven’t yet done so, register for our daily updates. You won’t regret it!

  • Register for CW

  • PS 3.

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  • This web site is supported solely by tax-deductible donations. Please mail your generous contributions to: The Center for Faith and Culture, PO Box 77385, Seattle, Washington 98177

    ‚©CRS Communications 2006

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