There is so much wisdom in the scriptures about prayer. You don’t have to look far to see the power of prayer, the necessity of prayer or even the constructs of prayer. God lovingly shows us all of this if we seek His word.
One of my greatest privileges, especially during this hard year, has been to intercede for others in prayer. I learned this valuable lesson from my friend Annie. Annie is one of the most humble and loving people I’ve ever known. She’s a behind-the-scenes kind of friend. She is a faithful prayer partner. I remember several years ago when Annie and her husband were going through a very hard financial time, she sent out a message and asked her friends to share their prayer needs so that she could cover us in prayer. It struck me, that during a time that she needed prayer more than anyone else I knew, that she’d actively seek out the prayer needs of others. When I asked her about it, she said that it helped her to refocus, even if just for 30 minutes each day, on the needs of others so that she would see her own need with a clearer perspective and to give her heart a break from her own fears, worries and problems.
I never forgot that. In fact, God has allowed me to pray for others in my own times of trial, and it has been a blessing to my heart. It’s as if you get to feeling like you’ve already prayed about your own needs, you know God understands and will answer in His own perfect time, but while you wait on Him, you need something else to focus on. I also know the incredible blessing of knowing, without a single doubt, that hundreds of others, or in some cases, just one single trusted friend, was interceding on my behalf with God. You feel loved. And seen. And valued. So if I can give that feeling to someone I care about, it’s my honor to walk beside them.
In most cases, these needs are easy enough to bring before the Lord.
Someone needs a job. Done. “Thanks God for that finished work. I can’t wait to hear all about the new job and how it meets needs for this family.”
A precious family is walking the adoption road and needs a funding miracle. Easy peasy. “God, it’s all yours. You did it for us, so please lead and provide for this child to come home to their forever family. We thank you, in advance, for the creative ways in which you are about to provide and pray you will be glorified through it all.”
Attachment struggle? We got your back. “God, we know you knit this family together for a purpose. God, I pray that you will penetrate this child’s heart and begin healing those broken places that are making it hard to trust, or to love, or to receive love from their new family. God, please give strength to these new parents and remind them that you wait patiently for us to come to you and that you will be faithful as they wait patiently for their child’s growth and healing to unfold. We thank you for your faithfulness in their lives and for the amazing plans that you have already laid in place for each one in this family.”
These are not insignificant needs. They require much prayer and whenever I have had to privilege of praying one of these kinds of prayers for others, I am encouraged and blessed by God. Watching Him bless these dear ones through answered prayers and celebrating with them never gets old.
But, what about those times when the need may hit a little too close to home? What then?
What? You have cancer? And you are praying for miraculous healing? You need prayer for your children to trust and not fear? You need God’s strength to stand strong no matter the outcome? Of course, I’ll pray.
But how? How do I pray for something so hard, and so painful, something that hits so close to home? How do I plead with the Lord for an outcome that He didn’t give me? How do I pray for a miracle when my own reality ended in death and loss and grief. And how do I separate my own pain from the timely need of another? They need prayer now, not when my heart is “ready”. They need their miracle now.
I’m not a theologian. I’m not a pastor. I’m not even a licensed counselor.
What I am is a Mom, a wife without a husband, a woman who’s experienced a lot of pain as well as a lot of blessing in her life. So, I can only share with you from my experiences and from my own wounded heart.
What I know is that God is good. Always. I know that His perfect, yes, perfect plan for our family required that He call Tom home. A miracle of healing would not have met the needs of our family, in the way that God desired. But it may for some other precious family. It may be the precise way in which God chooses to bring glory to Himself. And in this, I can rejoice and pray with true hope.
So, I pray for that miracle. I pray that God would bring the very best to this family, in whatever form is required. I pray that their every need is met no matter the outcome. I pray that now, during this illness, and after, whatever that might look like, God would use this circumstance and the people in it, to reach a watching world and to show Himself clearer, bigger and stronger than ever. I pray for peace over their home and their hearts. I pray for the same kind of peace that God gave me as I walked this road with Tom and the boys. I pray for the constant reminder that, as a believer, no matter the outcome, that sick family member WINS! They win. Just as Tom won his battle.
I have chosen to embrace the trials that God has allowed in my life, even when I don’t feel like praising Him for them because I know that He is faithful and that he wastes nothing. So, when God answers a pray in your life in a way that seems harsh, don’t lose sight of who He is. Don’t forget how very much He loves you and that His answer was best, even if He hasn’t revealed the why to you just yet. And don’t allow your own pain and loss to keep you from praying for His love and mercy over another.