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.

The prayer for healing: God’s answer is always yes

January 26, 2011

People walked forward for special prayer, and even anointing as prayer teams of pastors and prayer leaders lined up the front of the Forest Lake Church sanctuary. The intercessory prayers were preceded by personal accounts from a high school principal named Gloria and our Audio Visual Coordinator, Ron.

Gloria is battling a rare form of cancer. She found out about her diagnosis shortly after her husband’s sudden death. A collective show of people love and support swarmed around her. Groups had been praying for her by name. They wanted to draw close to her and let her know she and her family would continue to be in their thoughts as she goes through treatment

It was encouraging to hear Ron’s own story of breakthrough and renewed vigor after his being anointed and prayed for about a year ago.

Pastor Gary Patterson who serves as the transition lead pastor for the church shared his own experience with the practice of anointing in his earlier years in pastoral ministry.

“For the believer, the answer to the prayer for healing is always yes,” Pastor Patterson concluded.

Perhaps another way of putting it is that the healing one seeks may come right at this moment or it may have its fulfillment after death. Either way, God’s glory shines when one puts his or her life in God’s hands.

How do you react to the idea of an illness and even your death could be an opportunity for hope for someone else? How can illness become a way of showing the realness of God’s power in the life of a person? Is it possible to be cured and not healed? What’s the difference between the two?