EXPLORING THE STORY OF 'THE RESCUE OF TIMMY TRIAL'
Let’s diverge slightly from the sequence of the adventure
of Timmy Trial and consider the theme of small sticks: which, in this story, represent the power of effective, targeted prayer by an old, experienced prayer warrior on behalf of two lost schoolboys. We have previously reflected on the importance of this invisible powerhouse when it is based upon the character, will and purposes of the God of Heaven as the Bible portrays Him. There are a couple of other instances in this adventure when Mr Duffle’s prayer offering rescues the children. The one we will pick up here is when the children attempt the rescue of Timmy Trial from the evil Snares of Err. They go about it in their own inimitable way – not properly understanding the resources that they, as Christians, have at their disposal. And so, they are ill prepared to face the terrifying Snares.
‘In the daylight they were thick grey and black shadows, like the dark thunder clouds of a summer storm. And that’s where they seemed to come from, falling out of a sky that was no longer full of sunshine, but was threatening to unleash the most ferocious thunder and rain…’
They get the basics right for this unequal fight against a cruel enemy. They remember to put on their armour of God, and pick up the ‘sword of the Spirit which is the word of God’ (Ephesians chapter 6)…
‘“Everyone put on your armour,” said Hugo. His voice was trembling but he was thinking hard. “And make sure you have your Bible in your hand.”…
It was hard with the fear of Snares upon them to calmly fasten on their armour and await their enemies. Cold seemed to penetrate them as the clouds grew thicker around them, and there were strange stirrings in the trees.’
But when they are challenged by the Snares, when these malevolent creatures refuse to allow them to proceed on their journey to rescue their lost friend, they begin to understand that they have not adequately prepared for this fight; and the Snares soon realise this too. Nothing but direct prayer will drive these enemies away, and, remembering the effectiveness of Mr Duffle’s prayer stick on the Snares (see previous blog ‘Small Sticks’), Henrietta desperately searches in the Rescuer’s Kit for prayer that might help…
‘Henrietta withdrew a stick from the Rescuer’s Kit. “Look!” she said holding it high.
There was silence amongst the watching Snares.
And then Henrietta threw the stick at them with all her might.
They all held their breath as they watched the small stick of prayer fly through the air towards the Snares. There was a flare of light, as if someone had struck a match, a sudden sparkle…and then nothing at all. It was like a firework that had not really got started properly and had fizzled out. They looked at each other in dismay.
The Snares sniggered in amusement.
“What did I tell you?” said the big Snare leader, “they know nothing about prayer! They’re no danger to us!”…’
Later in the story, the children get the opportunity to ask about this episode.
‘“We tried one of your prayer sticks against the Snares you see,” Hugo explained to Mr Weighty… “But why didn’t it work?”…
“My dear Hugo,” said Mr Weighty, “you might have been throwing prayers for the Lost Ones in the Mountains of Destruction at the Snares of False Teaching! Those prayers have got nothing to do with them! Come to think of it, I did have some prayers collected for Mr Faintnot who is the Outpost Rescuer up near the Mountains of Destruction. I was going to deliver the prayers to him. I think it’s prayers for poor Mr Faintnot that you’ve been throwing at the Snares!... You have to be specific and targeted in prayer. You can’t just expect to aim any prayer at any problem and get results… One of the keys to a successful mission is preparing with prayer and asking people to provide prayer cover that is specific to the problems you’re going to face.”…’
There is an awesome responsibility to safeguard ‘frontline’ Christian workers with specific, targeted prayer. In another Aletheia adventure, there is a glimpse into the Lost Property Room of the Prayer Academy in Aletheia, where all the prayer requests that aren’t meaningful enough to assign to a specific target are sent. Here is an extract from this sad, and fascinating, place.
‘It was certainly an unusual sight. Hundreds of tiny pieces of paper whirling around and around the room, unable to rest – for they had no target – and so they flew until they were used up and exhausted; they hadn’t been used purposefully at all…’
“The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man [person] avails much…”
James 5:16, The Bible
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