Perhaps my questions about prayer have been running the circuit in my mind for far too long. Now, it seems, my merciful and loving Father—the same God we all pray to—has found the perfect situation to allow me to address them.
I grew up on a farm as a rather self-sufficient, independent individual; so, seeking help with my problems isn’t exactly second nature to me. I generally can float my own boat and take care of myself; or so I thought. Some of the thoughts that floated through my head when the subject of prayer came up included:
- Do I need to let people know what I am going through?
- Do I need to ask for prayers?
- I don’t need your prayers . . . or do I?
- What makes me think that I am special and need prayers when others have been suffering for years, often without an obvious answer?
- Do I need an immediate sign to believe my prayers have been heard?
- Is prayer really helpful?
- Could others really care that much about me?
- Do I need to know someone to ask for prayers from them? Or could it be that I am too prideful and not humble enough to ask for prayers and show my vulnerability?
Perhaps, like me, others out there have struggled with some of these same questions. If that is the case, maybe some of my recent realizations may be of some value to you.
Until very recently, I didn’t think I would ever need the prayers of others. But now, after having my own medical experience and being on the receiving end of people’s prayers and phone calls, the answer is a resounding, “yes!”—I do need other peoples’ prayers! Reality has hit me in a most profound way, showing me the love-in-action of others with like-minds.
I can now thank God for this new perspective and for inspiring me to understand that “the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16). It is clear that by sacrificing time to pray for another’s concerns, I am actually laying down my life for someone else.
I know people interceded for me in prayer, because of the swift changes that occurred after I returned home from the hospital. I don’t think these changes just happened by themselves. God intervened for me, relieving the pain when the pain meds were not working. I now realize that intervention came because my brethren cared for me and sacrificed their time and faithfully prayed to God on my behalf.
I am convinced that there are many reasons for the trials we go through—whether health, finances, lack of understanding, relationships or other issues. I am also convinced that God is the only One who knows the end from the beginning; however, I now know that prayer can change things. That’s not to say that we can force our will upon God, but He is concerned with our happiness and well-being. Although I have prayed for others and kept in contact with God on a daily basis, I am now convinced—more than ever—that God is listening all the time! I am also sure that it puts a smile on His face when He sees us give freely of our time and effort in fervent prayer for one another.
Take a minute to meditate on the word, fervent, for a moment. Perhaps all of us have not considered enough the meaning packed into that one word. Consider the words associated with it in the dictionary: moved by, or showing great warmth or intensity of emotion; enthusiasm; ardent. I now have to ask myself: how well do my prayers fulfill this explanation? How well do yours?
In closing, I would like to thank everyone that took the time to pray for me during this trial with my hand—and please continue! I also will pray for my brethren with a clearer heart and mind than ever before. You see, the healing that comes from a health trial is not always the physical part, but God often uses physical circumstances to impart a greater spiritual lesson in our lives. All glory to God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God…” (Philippians 4:6).