Andy Wood over at Lifevesting and Synerjack is going through a period of spiritual renewal with his church, and he invited some others to blog about their own experiences in order to share with his congregation, and the rest of us (I think that may have been a Paul-esque run-on sentence if there’s ever been one). For some reason, I got included in that group as well.
The topic for this week is prayer. Specifically, it’s a prayer that you prayed for a definite need, and how God answered that request. Since Andy asked, I’ve been rolling over prayer after prayer in my head, trying to figure out what I should write about. There have been many instances of specific needs being met in my life…too many to count, actually. God has been so faithful, and upon reflection, I realized just how often I pray for a need, and then forget just how faithful God is in meeting it. My problem was figuring out just which one of those prayers I should write about.
Well, in the midst of all this thinking, God ordained it that I would have to do some very specific praying. And I found that praying specifically in this case was not exactly an easy thing to do.
You see, my wife and I are expecting our second child in November. Our first child, Caroline Ruth, is celebrating her 2nd birthday on Monday (that’s a prayer-lesson in and of itself! But that’ll have to wait for another post). My wife called me today while I was at work in tears. She had just received a call from her doctor’s office. They told her that her most recent blood work came back with a slight risk that our baby could have Down’s Syndrome. To hear this on the phone, on a Friday, knowing you have to wait until Monday to find out more is not easy. It is a situation that brings with it a very real need for prayer. So, after talking to my wife and making sure she was ok, and after reassuring her that God is in control and that our child is indeed “fearfully and wonderfully made,” I told her that I would be praying.
But the question for me was, “So, Mattie, what do you pray?” My first thought was “God, don’t let this be happening! Heal my child!” And I think that’s o.k. Jesus said we have not because we ask not, so I was asking for health and well-being for my wife and baby. Wouldn’t any father and husband pray such things? My heart was heavy for my wife, remembering back 4 years ago when we lost our first baby in a miscarriage. I prayed “Not again, Lord. Show Yourself mighty on our behalf here.”
But then I got to thinking: but what about Your will, Lord? If I truly believe You are Who I say You are, can’t I trust You to do right in this situation? Can’t I trust Your sovereign hand in all of this? Can’t I believe that this may just be a test of our faith, in the event that nothing is wrong, or even if our child is born with Down’s? Will God be less God in either case? Will my faith be less, or greater, as a result?
So in the midst of all these thoughts about praying specifically, I found myself praying in two very different ways. Maybe that’s exactly what God wants. Maybe He wants me to be asking Him exactly what I want, yet at the same time being aware of His control of the whole situation. Maybe He’s saying, “Yes, ask! Pour out your heart to me! And trust that I, the Lord of all creation, will not turn a deaf ear to your cry! I will answer! Trust me, and know that I will answer in the best possible way!”
Yet that is not an easy thing for me to do, most days…trusting in that way. I guess that’s why Paul told us that when we don’t know how we should pray, “the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us in groanings which cannot be uttered.” (Rom. 8:26) That was a comforting thought to me tonight. When I can’t pray specifically, the Holy Spirit does it for me.
So that’s my post on specifically non-specific prayer.