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Becoming a Man of Prayer

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Some reflections from a REACH practicum in the Appalachian Mountains of Pennsylvania

By Luke*

I’m sitting in a hammock, the breeze gently pushing me back and forth. It’s cold up here on the mountain, so I decided to bundle up with my hat and warm jacket. I close my eyes and rely on my remaining senses to paint the picture that I’m seeing before me. I open my ears and hear a chipmunk squeaking; perhaps he’s angry that I’ve invaded his territory. A cricket is singing just a few yards away and a small spring is trickling down the rocky path to the ravine. A few birds are singing their sweet song that could easily put me to sleep, but the cold has sent most of them away already. I breathe in deep, taking in the fresh air. A slight tinge of smoke from a campfire finds its way out of the woven layers of my jacket; I can almost feel its warming glow.

I simply love being in the great outdoors. The purity and simplicity of this time in the mountains sets a longing in my heart. God has placed me where I am, here and now, to enjoy his creation. It was hard to imagine what type of ministry my team and I would possibly be doing while backpacking in the middle of the Appalachian Mountains. Perhaps it was for the little interaction we had with the few people that we met, there was some potential for that. However, I believe that the ministry was more internal and personal. It was a time to spend literally walking in the presence of the Lord and his creation. Taking time to enjoy the things he put time and thought into creating for our enjoyment. It also taught me about becoming a true man of prayer.

Prayer and intercession became a huge part of our daily schedule. With each passing day the requirement to spend the day in prayer became what I looked forward to most. Every time we entered into a time of prayer and intercession we faced the most difficult part of the trail for that day. I think that speaks a lot to the Christian life in general. When we choose to spend time with the Lord, it’s going to be an uphill climb the whole time, filled with many rocks and obstacles. Many times when you think you’ve reached the top, you realize that it simply levels out before an even steeper climb. Yet when that time is spent seeking the Lord and longing for his presence, time seems to pass by without notice and the next thing you know, you’re out in the open field gazing upon the mountain that you’ve just overcome. As my team and I were almost finished and heading back to the car, I turned and gazed upon the trail behind us, all the mountains and obstacles we conquered. I got this picture in my head. I could close my eyes and imagine God standing right beside me, his arm draped around me saying: “That’s pretty sweet; we just went through all of that. Are you ready for the next adventure?”

I’m ready for the next adventure!


For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” - Jeremiah 29:11



Luke is on the 2013 REACH team to North Africa and is currently participating in the program’s discipleship training school. In North Africa, he will be a part of a team of four guys who will be trekking into unreached mountain villages to share Jesus. Luke’s favorite part of REACH training so far is the camaraderie and worship. He says, “I have been pushed out of my comfort zone and have been encouraged to excel in every situation. God has taught me so much and I still have seven months to go!” In his spare time, Luke likes to keep practicing and advancing his guitar playing skills. You will rarely find him sitting by himself; he will either be outside walking and talking with friends or writing. He likes to write short stories or about adventures in his own life, as well as poetry.

*Last name omitted for security reasons.