Why pray?

“But now that he is dead, why should I go on fasting? Can I bring him back again? I will go to him, but he will not return to me.”- David, 2Samuel 12:23

There aren’t many things more tragic than the death of a child.

We had adopted BabyGirl into our hearts. We prayed for this infant barely a day old and according to her Mom’s physicians, doomed to die upon her entrance into the world. She didn’t die right away, and this gave many reason to hope for a glimpse of the miraculous. We prayed boldly. Her parents- not necessarily believers grabbed hold of a prayer quilt that you (people of HoPE) gave to them, braced themselves and hoped against hope.

Ruth brought to us BabyGirl’s story when she asked us to pray for her coworker. This mom’s vast grief might abate over time, but we guess that for now must be made more intense because ,as Ruth shared, there were two other women at the office who were pregnant at the same time as she was. They each now hold in their arms a healthy baby girl with a big bow strapped to their bald head. Ruth showed me pictures of herself holding each one.

Snapshots of exuberant joy over new life in the backdrop of indescribable loss make us very aware of how fragile and mysterious life is.

How do we pray for a life to be spared in the backdrop of our mortality?

While David’s circumstances differ from this particular situation, the story of his loss in 2Samuel 12:14-31 does give us an insight about prayer itself: it humbles us, inviting us to follow God in the dark.

The fact that David washed his face, had dinner, went to console his wife and had sex with her, had more children is not a primer on how to grieve or not grieve . While we are not given much in regards to his interior life’s struggle at that moment of deep loss, David’s actions show his going on with his life, conveying acceptance with the way things turned out despite his most fervent prayers.

Why pray as a community of believers when there is no guarantee that we will always see the miracle we seek with our own eyes,right away? Why learn about prayer?

Becoming good at praying doesn’t prepare us for how to get yes answers from the Lord. Becoming good at praying prepares us to answer “yes,Lord”-no matter what, even when things don’t turn out the way we had wished. Prayer prepares us to “see” God,even beyond our tears.

“Oh, that my words were recorded, that they were written on a scroll,
that they were inscribed with an iron tool on lead,or engraved in rock forever! I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed,yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” -Job,Book of Job 19:22-25.

What every Prayer Leader must do

What difference would it make to actually believe that Jesus is in the prayer room with us?

One day Jesus was teaching, and Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting there. They had come from every village of Galilee and from Judea and Jerusalem. And the power of the Lord was with Jesus to heal the sick -Luke 5:17

And the power of the Lord was with Jesus to heal

Where the Spirit is, Paul writes to the Corinthians, there is freedom. No way to stay the same when we have been in the presence of supernatural power.

May our prayer every time we lead or facilitate HoPE be for the power of God to rest on all of us. Not only for our comfort but to be ready to be part of God’s work when the opportunity comes.

Let’s also call the opportunity a gift! It is a gift to be able to reach out to another in His Name. When Susie brought her neighbor Gail- it hit me how awesome it was that Gail was willing to share her story and welcome us to pray for her and her husband as they journey through her pancreatic cancer. She is not a member of our church but like us, she is a Christ follower. Though her eyes were glistening with tears, she said: “My illness is on paper,but God has taken care of me.” She spoke of her trust on God’s last Word on her life. The joy in the atmosphere was tangible.

I stood aside watching her shaking the hands of those who came forward to join her up front. Gail was radiant and as the congregation came forward to pray for her, she seemed to be the one welcoming us into a circle of compassion as we gathered behind her.

Following His calling of His disciples, Jesus began to heal and make people whole. Living the Gospel is not complete by speaking it. The teaching and preaching is followed by accessing God’s power to extend healing. While a couple months ago, Ben’s friend who came to prayer meeting has recovered from cancer, there are no guarantees for Gail. We still asked God for physical healing. The ultimate healing,though,is to completely be made whole in God, and it will come when He returns.

Where do we begin as Christ disciples if we want to live His call fully and live this good news? We are following Him and trying to catch what He’s teaching us through His Word and recorded actions. He didn’t come in His own power. He was in submission, hence the word “Lord” in Luke 5:17.

Dr. Luke gives us an important clue on what Jesus did to be connected to supernatural power to heal in the preceding verses of Luke 5:17. Verses 15 and 16:

Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

We are not perfect as prayer leaders. All the more reasons for us to cry out to God for help. Let’s take time to be alone and ask for the power of the Lord through us. People need us to do this and are looking to us to do this. The leaders of the day were there where Jesus stood, and they didn’t like what they saw:

The Pharisees and the teachers of the law began thinking to themselves, “Who is this fellow who speaks blasphemy? Who can forgive sins but God alone?” -Luke 5:21

Imagine the potential impact of those teachers and pharisees who had come from all over to see Jesus. The power of the Lord was in that space.. to heal. Yet they missed out for themselves, for the people who needed them and for the chance to go back to their home base with an incredible message of hope.

God doesn’t need me for His power to be present to heal, yet His invitation is to follow Him and seeing the manifestation of His Presence for His beloved who need Him now is a gift to us.

I drew closer to the group that now encircled Gail, and thanked Him for that gift as people took turns to pray.