Yesterday I put an all-call out on Facebook asking everyone to pray for Christian. He had the worst migraine he's ever had in his life and he's had a couple dozen major migraines. I was in the throws of considering taking him to the ER when I posted on Facebook and asked people to pray.
I realize that not everyone considers prayer to be a genuine solution to a problem. Not everyone believes that prayer accomplishes much of anything. I am well aware of the fact that I have many Facebook friends who do not pray and some who are atheists who think prayer is a joke and something weak people lean upon to make themselves feel better.
I however believe 100% in the power of prayer. There is absolutely not one tiny doubt in my mind that the God of the universe hears me when I prayer. No doubt. And here's why.... I've lived it.
I can still remember the day in 1982. My dad was cutting up a tree with his chainsaw. We could hear yelling from the house and when I looked out the window I could see blood running through my dad's fingers as he screamed and gripped his face. The image is forever seared in my four year old mind. A chain had sliced through his face. What I remember next is a swarm of people coming to my house and I remember the praying. The out loud...really bold....praying. I remember hearing the stories of the praying people who showed up at the ER and I can remember the praying people taking care of my siblings and I. There was a lot of praying and there was a lot of praising and thanking God going on. My dad lived, quickly healed and today his face shows no evidence of his accident. Prayer answered.
I grew up with this idea that you can boldly present your requests to God because of the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross. Because Jesus died we can now "approach the throne," that means we can talk to God in any moment without all the pomp and circumstance. I don't need to go through a priest or do some ritual to get God to hear me. I can just pray. I can talk to Him. I can cry to Him. There have been times when I've begged and pleaded with Him.
I can still remember the blue baby boy that was born on June 14, 2005. He wasn't breathing and his heart beat was faint. No one would answer me when I asked what his Apgar score was. There was just grave seriousness in the faces of the people who came flooding into the room. I had spent my entire life dreaming of the moment I would become a mommy and when that moment finally arrived I felt helpless as I watched them breath into my baby and do chest compressions. I did the only thing I knew to do...pray. I said "Jesus" over and over and over again. And He heard me.
And then there was the summer that Will's finger got slammed in the door. It was a defining moment in my life when I held my screaming baby, who was writhing in pain, in the back of the ambulance. Part of his finger was gone and there was no pain medication they could give him in the ambulance because he was only 16 months old. I literally could not stand seeing him in such pain. I was begging them to give Will something to knock him out. They couldn't. And so I prayed like I've never prayed before. Out loud...in front of those paramedics... I begged God to take Will's pain away and knock him out. I think I was actually shouting and crying. I was a mess! There were some wide eyes in the back of that ambulance when Will fell asleep a moment after I prayed. I can remember my exact words.."God, right now in the name of Jesus Christ, I ask you to take Will's pain away. Send your ministering angels to touch him right now in Jesus name. Right now Lord. I need you to do it right now. Please Jesus heal him. Now." And he fell asleep and most of you know the story....under the watchful care of a plastic surgeon and with lots of people praying...that little finger grew back. I couldn't make this stuff up if I wanted to. Answered prayer.
That's why I pray. It works. I don't always get these dramatic answers to prayer. I spent countless hours on my knees begging God to heal my little cousin Olivia. She's in Heaven now and I prayed for her more than I've ever prayed for anyone in my life. Those prayers were not answered the way I wanted them to be answered. But I would never say that they weren't answered. She's well and whole and strong right now living it up with Jesus.
I could go on and on with story after story of times when I've seen miraculous answers to prayer and I'm so thankful. I am in awe that this omnipotent God who spoke a word and created oceans and galaxies loves me enough to listen to me pray about my son's migraines. This morning we prayed and gave God thanks and praise for taking Christian's headache away and for providing him with relief yesterday. He stayed in the hot shower for about 40 minutes until we ran out of hot water :) Then he got in bed and I laid hands on his head and prayed that God would take the pain away. He fell asleep a few moments after that. Answered prayer.
This is the verse that has shaped the way I pray:
Hebrews 4:14-16 "Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."
This verse is clear that we are going to have times of "need." We live in an imperfect world. But in those hours of need we need to hold firm to the FAITH we profess to have. And we can have confidence when we pray.