Prayer makes a difference

Friday, October 26, 2018
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Having participated in many Christian conferences through the years, it is always a joy to see how each is done. Some are planned with several hundred in attendance and others for small groups. They can be in big conference centers or in rustic camps with cabins.

After I took the advice of the lady who lives in my smart phone to travel 57 miles on a dirt road over Lemhi Pass (elevation 7,753 feet), we finally made to the retreat center outside Challis, Idaho. My friend, Nan, was with me. Total mileage from home to the retreat was 351 miles. We figured it would take about five hours. We left Livingston at 8 a.m., so figured with a lunch stop we’d get there around 1 p.m.

By taking the Google Lady’s advice for the shortest route, it took three hours longer. The scenery was breathtaking with the fall colors and huge rock formations. We took lots of photo stops. We understood better when we read the sign at the top of Lemhi Pass. It said “National Scenic Parkway — following the steps of Lewis & Clark.”

We were also glad the weather was good. It would be impossible with mud or snow. One stretch had a sign that read, “Single-lane traffic next 3 miles,” with a high bank on one side and a drop-off on the other.

“Nan,” I said, “I will warn you right now. If we should happen to meet a car on this stretch of road, I am not backing up. We will play Chicken until they back up … even if we have a standoff till dark!”

I wasn’t sure if she knew what a game of “Chicken” was. And I wasn’t sure God would approve of this church lady (me) having a selfish attitude. I think we were the one car listening to this particular Google lady. The only vehicle we had met was a pickup and horse trailer at the cattle guard coming off the interstate 40 miles back.

When we got to the highway from Wisdom, Montana (which we intended to be on but weren’t) to Salmon, Idaho, we had cell service again. I called Cindy, at the retreat. “We are getting closer,” I said. They were glad to hear from us. I told her we got good gas mileage going 30 mph up and down and around the mountains.

The retreat was at Living Waters Ranch Conference and Retreat Center at Challis. You can see it online. It was an awesome place. The retreat committee planned carefully for the attendees to have an enjoyable time. The meals were delicious. There were different decorations for each meal and good free time for rest or visiting between the seven worship/teaching sessions. Nan and many of the other ladies hiked on trails in the area.

Three things stood out for me. First, one lady was downsizing her craft supplies, donating from her “stash” so that all of the beautiful table centerpieces could be given away. Secondly there were pretty fall place cards for each of us each meal. These were moved so we sat with different ladies at each of the six meals. Great idea! Getting to know new people!

The third thing was what made the retreat most meaningful. The retreat was put on by the First Baptist Church of Pocatello women’s group L.I.F.T. (Ladies In Fellowship Together). Love that name! They had an active prayer team praying before and during this retreat.

I have seen it time and time again. It makes a difference in the hearts of the people every time. God tells us to pray. “Call unto me and I will answer you and show you great and mighty things you do not know.” (Jeremiah 33:3). Two ladies made decisions to accept Jesus as their Savior. Others had burdens lifted and prayers answered.

You can pray, too. Our verse this week is Hebrews 4:16, one of my favorites. It can be yours. too.

We did find our way home, just in case you wondered.


EDITOR’S NOTE: Lois Olmstead is an inspirational speaker and author who lives in the Shields Valley. Email her at or visit