I had the privilege of meeting Corrie ten Boom before she died and hearing her story first-hand. She told me that she dreamed of her family’s home being restored as a witness of their love for God’s Chosen People. After her death, I flew to the Netherlands to visit the clock shop and follow God’s leading. As I walked around the shop, I asked about seeing the upstairs, where a total of 800 Jews had been hidden and saved during the Holocaust.
The owner advised me that the door was kept locked, as the area was only used for storage. My heart broke. I felt that the ten Boom clock shop should be open as a testimony to the world of the love of a Christian family for the Jewish people. As I stepped through the door onto the sidewalk, I prayed, “Lord, I want to buy this house and restore it. If it is Your will, please help me.” That evening, I drew a prayer circle around my desire to fulfill Corrie’s wishes. Knowing that Psalm 91 was her chapter of promise, I opened my Bible and read: “He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust” (Psalm 91:1–2).
The next morning, I awoke confident in God’s answer. I returned to the clock shop and asked the owner if he would sell the shop to me. Just as he refused my offer, the clocks in the shop began to chime the noon hour. He turned to me and asked if I knew what day it was. I mentioned the day of the week. “No,” he said. “That is not what I meant—today is April 15, Corrie’s birthday. In her honor, yes, I will sell the shop to you!”
When the sale was complete, I vowed that no one would ever pay a cent to visit the ten Boom home—that the story of God’s love would be available to all. Since its restoration was completed, the clock shop has been open, free of charge, to thousands of visitors. Many leave with tears of remembrance and grateful hearts for the family that gave their lives to help Jewish people escape Hitler’s plan from hell. Some who have come were relatives of the people whose lives were saved by the courageous ten Boom family. All the work there is done on a volunteer basis. No one, including the board of directors, of which I am chairman, has ever received any compensation for our work, and we have paid all our own expenses.
After graduation, I joined the Army and was shipped off to spend 14 months in East Asia on a mountain the Koreans called Wong Tong Nee. Early one morning as I wandered around the mountain, I felt the overwhelming presence of God settling over me. Joy, unspeakable and full of glory, filled my soul. Like Samuel of old, my spirit whispered, “Speak, Lord, for thy servant heareth”(1 Samuel 3:10). All too often our prayer is, “Listen, Lord, don’t you know I’m talking to You?” It is infinitely more important that we listen!
Finding a secluded spot, I sank to the ground and tears streamed down my face as Jesus gently reminded my spirit of His words to me when I was eleven. I whispered, “Will you ever talk to me again? I need to hear Your voice. I sense the same presence I did when I was eleven.” He did not answer me audibly, but suddenly I felt impressed by the Holy Spirit to turn to Daniel 10:9–11. With tears misting my eyes, I pulled my Bible from my backpack and read:
Yet I heard the sound of his words; and while I heard the sound of his words I was in a deep sleep on my face, with my face to the ground. Suddenly, a hand touched me, which made me tremble on my knees and on the palms of my hands. And he said to me, “O Daniel, man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you.”
As the Holy Spirit spoke these words to me, I stood, trembling and weeping. Eventually, the sensation of God’s presence lifted, but I possessed a newfound sense of peace. I realized then that I was eager to hear the voice of God again. I needed to hear His voice. It gave me the affirmation I desperately needed so I could overcome. It also gave me the divine direction I craved.
Before leaving the spot that day, I gathered twelve stones and set up a small altar. Sometime during the day, every day, I returned to that spot to pray and seek God. During the monsoon season when the rains came, I could be found wrapped in my rubber poncho praying by my rock altar. In the middle of the blistering summer, with temperatures rising above 110 degrees, I would pray in the shade of those rocks. In the frigid winter, when the wind chill factor dropped to 20 degrees below zero, I would wrap myself in layers of clothing and go to pray at my altar of rocks.
Years later I returned to South Korea with Dr. Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ. It was then I discovered that after I had fulfilled my military obligation and gone home, Dr. Paul Cho purchased the mountain and made it a place of prayer, which came to be called simply “Prayer Mountain.” During that trip, Dr. Cho said to me, “You were the first Christian to pray atop the mountain.” He called me “Holy Ghost Kimchi Man, Seed of Abraham.” I know now that God wanted me to learn to pray, to listen to Him, and to seek His will and plan for my life atop that lonely mountain. I knew that a plan had been established for me; I just needed to know how to allow God to unlock His purpose in my life.
When Israel issued its declaration of statehood in May of 1948, David Ben-Gurion assumed the joint offices of prime minister and defense minister. He demanded that the various armed factions that had been fighting to protect Jewish families and towns from Arab attacks be merged into one fighting force, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). He masterminded the creation of many of the burgeoning state’s institutions and various internal projects to aid development. He organized, for example, Operation Magic Carpet to airlift Jews from unfriendly Arab countries, the founding of new towns and cities, and a national waterworks along with other infrastructure projects.
He continued to encourage pioneering and farming in the remote areas of the land. Ben-Gurion achieved Theodor Herzl’s dream, his passion for a Jewish state, and was then entrusted with its guardianship. The newly acknowledged State of Israel was all that Herzl had imagined. As Yoram Hazony, author, philosopher, and political theorist, wrote: “Ben-Gurion found himself overseer of a state that was neither neutral nor multinational as Judah Magnes, Martin Buber, Lessing Rosenwald or the ever-present U.S. State Department had hoped to see formed. It was, instead, in the most precise way conceivable the state about which Herzl had written in The Jewish State—a place where non-Jewish residents were welcomed ‘to participate in the up-building of the state on the basis of full and equal citizenship,’ but one whose significance, single-mindedness, and function would nevertheless result in ‘the right of the Jewish people to be masters of their own fate…in their own sovereign state.’”
When Ben-Gurion stepped to the podium at 4:00 p.m. on that warm Friday afternoon in May, he carefully read the statement that declared Israel’s sovereignty. The following day, May 15, Egypt launched her military aircraft toward Tel Aviv in retaliation. It was Shabbat, and there would be no official response until Saturday evening at the conclusion of the holy day. As the prime minister again delivered a news bulletin to his awaiting audience, he announced that an Egyptian warplane had been shot down, its pilot imprisoned, and the aircraft added to the Israeli Air Force. He also reported that the United States had been the first nation to recognize Israel’s independence.
Ben-Gurion’s announcement was the initial step in a war that would last one year, three months, and ten days. It would test Israel’s very resolve and preparedness. It was a war very few expected the newly reborn state to survive. Azzam Pasha, the Arab League secretary-general incorrectly asserted: “It will be a war of annihilation. It will be a momentous massacre in history that will be talked about like the massacres of the Mongols or the Crusades.” It was an opinion widely shared around the world. But it was an opinion that did not take into account the promises and prophetic plan of God.
At the outset of the confrontation, it was obvious that Israeli forces were greatly outnumbered. One army, alone, the Egyptians, boasted 40,000 ground troops armed with approximately 135 armored fighting vehicles, heavy artillery, and 60 planes in its arsenal, including bombers and single-seat fighter planes. Forces in Egypt and Jordan had been trained and led by British army officers. The Israelis were faced with those daunting figures, yet marched forward determined and unbowed.
Hannah, wife of Elkanah, a Kohathite of the tribe of Levi, must have felt a great sense of despair when, month after month, she remained barren. Hannah might have felt that by not bearing a child with Elkanah she lacked status and merit in his eyes. She cried out to God again and again until the answer came.
Hannah’s prayer of despair was answered in a miraculous way that brought about the birth of Samuel, who would grow up to be a great prophet in Israel. He, in turn, would anoint a shepherd boy named David to become king and establish Jerusalem as his capital city. It was this same David who would write, “Morning, noon, and night I cry out in my distress, and the Lord hears my voice” (Psalm 55:17).
My wife, Carolyn, taught me a faith lesson when our fourth and last child was born. I had secretly wanted a son to love, probably because I never had a father who loved me. I thought I would only have my three beautiful daughters, which was fine with me; they are my sweethearts! But God gave Carolyn and me another child.
Carolyn obstinately refused to listen to the opinions of others—those who told her she would have another girl. She believed God had told her a boy was on the way. Her belief persisted even after the doctor announced that she would have another girl. Let me repeat that: She believed God! She was totally convinced—against all odds—that our baby would be a boy and declared that he would be named Michael David Evans II. I reminded Carolyn that I didn’t have a middle name.
Of course, it didn’t faze her at all; the new mother won that battle! Soon after our son’s birth, I appeared before a judge to have my name changed to Michael David Evans. Both my son and I are now named “David” as are hundreds and thousands of boys and their fathers worldwide. Michael David has grown up to be a godly man of integrity. I have told him, “I was named after you. When I grow up, I want to be just like you.”
Hannah’s miracle son, Samuel, grew to be a man of integrity and prayer. He stood before the people of Israel on one occasion and said, “Far be it from me that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you” (1 Samuel 12:23). Samuel grew up to be more than simply an answer to prayer; he became a priest, judge, and prophet who later anointed both Saul and David as kings over Judah.
Prayer is as essential as air and water if we are to maintain a spiritual life of constant contact with God. If we don’t make that connection, no matter how sincere our intentions, we will not see a change in the circumstances of our life. We must pray! James 4:2 tells us: “You lust and do not have. You murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war. Yet you do not have because you do not ask.”
During a dark hour of Israel’s history, the Assyrians demanded heavy tribute from King Hezekiah. In response, Hezekiah stripped the temple of its gold and silver in order to meet that demand. Still, that was not enough; the Assyrians mounted an attack against the city. When King Hezekiah was informed in a letter from the king of Assyria that Israel would be destroyed if the demands were not met, he took the letter to the Temple. There, in the presence of God, he spread the letter on the altar and prayed: “O Lord God of Israel, the One who dwells between the cherubim, You are God, You alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth. You have made heaven and earth. Incline Your ear, O Lord, and hear; open Your eyes, O Lord, and see; and hear the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to reproach the living God. . . . Now therefore, O Lord our God, I pray, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that You are the Lord God, You alone”(2 Kings 19:15–16, 19).
God answered the king’s prayer with an overwhelming victory! The Bible says the angel of the Lord killed 185,000 Assyrian soldiers in one night. In great gratitude for God’s mercy, Hezekiah cleansed, repaired, and reopened the Temple of God. Worship to Jehovah was restored, daily sacrifices were resumed, and the Passover Feast was again celebrated by the nation of Israel.
Hezekiah’s prayer was based on a promise of God. Years earlier, when King Solomon had prayed at the dedication of the Temple, God revealed himself and His plan to Solomon with great power: “Then the Lord appeared to Solomon by night, and said to him: ‘I have heard your prayer, and have chosen this place for Myself as a house of sacrifice. When I shut up heaven and there is no rain, or command the locusts to devour the land, or send pestilence among My people, if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. For now I have chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there forever; and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually” (2 Chronicles 7:12–16).
Isaiah encouraged the Israelites with “Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am’” (Isaiah 58:9). The promises of God are just as sure today as they have ever been, and He still hears and answers when we cry out for deliverance.