Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Mrs. Bright on the Importance of Prayer

Leslie Basham: It's Tuesday, July 20; and you're listening to Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

How can a busy mom find time for prayer? Today we'll hear Vonette Bright's answer to that question. She and her husband, Bill Bright, are the co-founders of Campus Crusade for Christ and Bill went to be with the Lord one year ago this week.

During the illness leading up to his death, Nancy recorded an interview with Vonette and we'll hear how prayer helped sustain them during that difficult time. To get started here's Vonette remembering the role prayer played in her life as a young believer.

Vonette Bright: Prayer was a very vital part of my life but God was not a reality in my life until I asked Jesus Christ to come into my life and take control of my life.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Which was shortly before you married Bill Bright.

Vonette Bright: Yes, and it was Bill's influence, of course, and it was Henrietta Mears who actually led me to Christ. But I was with a part of the deputation group that went to jails and road camps and hospitals and to churches sharing their faith.

And they met on Friday nights and prayed and they had a prayer meeting like I had never been in before. They prayed as if God was real and was listening to them. They prayed very specifically in modern language about what they wanted and they just poured out their hearts. Then they pled with God and then they thanked Him that they were going to see the answers.

You know, as a young Christian coming into this group, I spent most of the time trying to word what I was going to say so I wouldn't sound like a...you know.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: And we've all done that to sound theologically correct.

Vonette Bright: Well, yes, that it would sound logical and that I wouldn't be giving away the fact that I was such a new Christian. I had learned to pray in church with the "thee's" and "thou's" and it was very refreshing to me that I could pray in modern English.

But, I did much of my spiritual growing in the early days in that prayer meeting because I learned to pray specifically, I learned to talk with God as my best friend and I learned to see that He answered specific prayer.

As we were praying about it, they would come back the next week and everybody was reporting what they saw and seeing the way in which God was working in their lives.

So, God became a real person to me. I realized that He was so much more eager to reveal Himself to me than I was even to know him; but He proves Himself real, He proves Himself adequate, He proves how faithful He is. And as we ask and we receive, our faith takes quantum leaps.

I can remember one of the first verses of Scripture that was my first life verse. It was Matthew 6:33 "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you."

So I began to find God to be a reality. It's not enough just to read the Word, but how are we applying it in our lives? What does it really mean? What have I read today that I can truly apply?

That's the excited Christian! The person that has gained a nugget that they can apply and then pass on to another. So, I always try to pass on what I learn that day--it's more your own.

There are lots of 'pegs' that I could point to of times when passages of Scripture became very real to me and that I could believe and act upon that have been life-changing kinds of examples and calls for me. Does that make sense?

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Absolutely! As you became a mother and your and Bill's lives became even busier than they were in those early days, and even in later years now your travel schedule and the demands of busy ministry life; but in those early days with your family was it hard to keep that time with the Lord carved out?

Vonette Bright: Well, yes it's very difficult to keep a consistent time, in fact our lives have never been routine. I couldn't be sure the hour that I was going to wake up. But of course the children going to school was a little bit more of a routine for them.

I've had quiet time every hour of the day and night. There was a time when daytime was just so impossible that I had to say, "Lord, you wake me up when I've had enough sleep and I'll know that I'm to get my Bible, go into the living room or go away from where I wouldn't be disturbing Bill but to a place to study.

We had a library and a big wing-back chair which became my little sanctuary. So I'd take my Bible into the library, sit and read and sometimes I was there as much as three hours. I would go back to bed and I didn't miss the sleep. It was amazing!

There were times I would go in and I'd maybe be there ten or fifteen minutes. I have learned that the purpose is to meet God.

You might meet Him in fifteen minutes. You might get the very nugget that you really need, you might know that you have met with Him and He says, "Go to sleep" or "do the task" and you can do whatever He wants you to do or seems to be the need. But, I always try to stay with the Word until I know I have met with Him.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: So, say a word of encouragement to the mom who has three preschoolers or she is homeschooling several children and she just feels tired all the time and God isn't seeming real to her as you describe He is to you.

Vonette Bright: Well, it sometimes is a struggle. You have to struggle for that time. But I learned to listen to tapes to minister to myself. Be a self-feeder, find ways in which you can feed yourself.

I had a tape recorder in my bathroom so that while I was there"¦you can't really take a bath and listen very easily, you can't run water and listen, whatever.

In fact we still keep a tape recorder in our bathroom so that we can listen to tapes or music or whatever. I think keep praise music on your radio! If you have a wonderful Christian radio station that's great"¦but if not, on your sound system have CDs with praise.

It just adds such a difference to the whole atmosphere of your home and into your heart and when you're discouraged or unhappy or when things start tumbling in on you, put that praise music on, it's helpful.

I find with messages people are giving or Bible studies that you can have, it's wonderful to have Scripture tapes that you can listen to. That's another way of spending your time with God. I've had one tape recorder in my kitchen so while I'm doing dishes or doing the domestic kind of thing I can listen to Scripture.

I have had verses of Scripture in my windowsill above my sink that I'm memorizing. I've had prayer requests on a ring that I can go through praying for specific things. So, you have to be a little bit creative to get that time alone but just think of it in terms of developing an intimate relationship with God.

Don't be too hard on yourself if you don't get it or if you miss a day or if you miss some time, the Lord knows that. But, try to make it a matter of discipline. At this point, if I don't have time in the Word, my day just doesn't go right. I feel like I haven't had a meal.

You know, it's just like you would go without breakfast and you suddenly realize, Well, I haven't eaten today.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: And you know it's not just the daily thing. One of the things as I look, Vonette, at a woman like you who is now in your seventies; and I see the benefit, (and as a younger woman this is incredibly challenging to me) I see the fruit in your life of years of that kind of habit.

So it's not just that each individual day has been improved but now I'm seeing a sweetness and a freedom as you're walking through some difficult life circumstances in this season of life. But those years of the foundation that have been laid--you're reaping that fruit,

Vonette Bright: It's true. You find out even more of the reality of God in your life and when you face any kind of a crisis to recognize that God's Word is there and I've had to search the Word sometimes for, you know, some answers.

As I've consistently read, I've prayed, "Lord, I know that You are going to be adequate for this time in my life" and rejoicing and praising Him even though I don't have some of the answers.

Now, I know that He is going to give me what I need when I need it, that God is sufficient for our every need. It's only by His grace that I'll get through this or that I can face the issue. I've learned not to look very far ahead, just to live for today.

Sometimes we can be defeated and discouraged because we're wanting to know what's going to happen the day after tomorrow or three months from now. I've been one that has projected myself far ahead.

In fact when Bill and I were first married I would say, "Now, honey, are we going to do such and such in July?"

Bill said, "Honey, I don't know what we can do in July."

Well, now wait a minute, we should begin to plan right now what we're going to do in July because that's what my parents did. They planned several months ahead in terms of vacations or what was going to happen with the children or some kind of a project.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Sounds like Bill was a little more spontaneous.

Vonette Bright: So, he would say, "Let's see how the Lord leads. How do we know what's happening at that point?" Many times I've seen my parents plan and then it not work out and then they were very disappointed.

Bill would say, "Let's see how God leads." Well, that was part of my learning process"¦to trust the Lord. I realized that nobody knows, you know we don't know what tomorrow holds, but we know Who holds that tomorrow and we can trust Him in every aspect.

I guess the thing that if you mark any one difference in my life than in earlier years would be that I have learned that God is trustworthy. I can trust Him to come through for me. I can trust Him to give me what I need when I need it, that I don't need to be worried about what's going to be taking place or be anxious. That wonderful passage in Philippians 4, you know, "Be anxious for nothing," yeah, don't worry about anything, "but in everything give thanks" (Philippians 4:6 paraphrased).

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Are you a natural worrier or would you have been?

Vonette Bright: Oh yeah, I am, I am. I am a natural worrier. I'm anxious. I can be very anxious about situations.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: You have to do that since your husband doesn't do it. Somebody has got to do it for him, right?

Vonette Bright: Well, you know God makes us balance as a couple and I think women are the 'nesters' and we do think further ahead and we care about the details and we think of the implications of different kinds of things. We're sensitive to the needs of people around us.

And I think that's why God made us a little bit more intuitive and made us such a complement to men. Men are "getter-doner's"; they are looking at the bottom line. They are thinking of what it's going to do to advance, that is, if we as women don't rob them of some of those kinds of things. I believe that's what it is to be a helpmate and a companion and a partner with the person God has given you to spend your life.

Leslie Basham: That's Vonette Bright reflecting on some of the differences between husbands and wives. When Nancy Leigh DeMoss recorded that interview, her husband Bill Bright was facing some serious health issues and he went to be with the Lord one year ago this week.

This Friday we'll see what God is continuing to do in Vonette's life. She'll be on the phone with Nancy.

Today, Vonette talked about how valuable it is for busy moms to have Scripture on CD. It's a great way to meditate on God's Word when we need it most, during the busyness of life.

One way you can think about the Word of God via CD is by ordering Psalms From The Heart. It's a CD that features Nancy reading from the Psalms along with music. It can help you stay focused on God even as you stay busy in your car or at home.

To order a copy, you can call us at 1-800-569-5959. Or go on-line to ReviveOurHearts.com.

Everyone on this earth faces the same thing: growing older. We'll get some wise advice on aging without fear from Vonette Bright tomorrow. Please join us for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is a ministry partnership of Life Action Ministries.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.