Ranching Community Exalts the Lord Who Provides
On the National Day of Prayer, believers gather to pray for nation and neighbor, praying with full faith that our prayers move the hands the move the universe. In the Sierra Valley in northern California, the Lord continues to move in mighty ways, answering prayers and providing for the needs of the valley.
A handful of believers from the scattered, rural towns in the Sierra Valley and across Sierra County took time away from their ranches to surround the flagpole of a local fire department and unite in prayer for America on the National Day of Prayer. After meeting virtually in recent years, these intercessors were overjoyed to be on site together once again to lift praises and prayers to the Lord.
“It was a communal event,” said Janet McHenry, the event organizer. “It felt like home again.”
McHenry has been leading her county’s National Day of Prayer observance for the last four years, but she has been diligently prayer-walking her community for over two decades. Organizing an NDP event fit right in with her lifestyle of prayer, as it is a day to culminate and celebrate the prayers that are lifted up the other 364 days of the year!
One of the attendees around the flagpole was an answer to prayer, just by her presence: a member of the county school board.
In the weeks leading up to the National Day of Prayer, McHenry scheduled presentations with the county board of supervisors, school board, and city council.
“Typically, I have gone to these meetings asking them for something,” McHenry said. “But this time I felt I was to simply go and say I’ve been praying for them and invite them to come join and receive prayer.”
McHenry praised God when she saw the member of the school board at the small NDP gathering that day, knowing that the Lord answered her prayer, and now she must cover this important leader in prayer. And Lord wasn’t finished working yet!
“There were several psalms I read as we began our observance asking for God to bring replenishing waters,” McHenry said. “That’s the beauty of a small community—you know each other’s needs.”
Other leaders prayed for the seven spheres of influence, but McHenry’s prayer subject was heavy on everyone’s minds: rain and water. Cattle ranching and logging are the main sources of income in Sierra County, and both are deeply dependent on having enough water to support livestock and forests. Harsh droughts and large fires the last few years have pushed the ranchers and loggers almost to their breaking point with the financial and emotional pressures of keeping their livelihoods viable.
After the National Day of Prayer, the Lord moved again: rain and snow fell for several days following the time of unified prayer! Just a few inches of precipitation meant the valley full of agri-businesses could rejoice with hope that their livelihoods would live on another year.
“I’m looking out over my valley and it’s green, and normally it would be brown and dying by now,” McHenry said. Just looking at the new growth brought her to tears; her husband would now be able to feed his cattle on the fresh grasses that the Lord provided. “I have to ask myself, ‘why am I always surprised when He answers my prayers?’”
You visit the earth and cause it to overflow; You greatly enrich it; The stream of God is full of water; You prepare their grain, for so You prepare the earth. Psalm 65:9