Silver-Lined Clouds

Jonathan Brownson

READ : James 1:2-4

Whenever you face trials of any kind . . . (v. 2)

Jeremiah Lanphier began his work at the North Dutch Church in a time of great economic hardship. Banks were closing; people were out of work. One observer wrote:

The year of 1857 was a year of financial embarrassment, culminating in the suspension of specie [coin money] payments in the month of October. The whole horizon was covered with clouds and men moved with fear . . . , not knowing what a day would bring forth. The apprehension of disaster was almost as trying as its reality, sometimes more so, since imagination always exaggerates the evils it forecasts.

Lanphier added his recollection:

The summer of 1857 . . . was a time of great business depression. I met Christian business men on the street . . . I asked them to come and pray with me a few moments. During that summer almost any hour you could have found two or more Christians in our old meeting room in prayer. In September I felt that it would be well to have a prayer meeting for business men at the hour of noon.

Would prayer have spread without the financial collapse? Do people have to lose their jobs to find time to pray? I don’t know, but prayer can still be the silver lining in our problems.


Lord, teach us to pray, even if it costs us.