Once upon a time I believed there was power in prayer.
Every single morning I used to gather my little children together and we would pray before we began our school work. (We’re long term, die hard homeschoolers!)
Well, I used to pray and they mostly just bowed their heads and listened along.
It was our ritual.
I would pray out loud for, among all kinds of other things… provision, peace, patience, contentment, wisdom, discernment and that we would all be safe and healthy.
And I really believed with all my heart and child like faith that because I prayed for good health, none of us would ever become seriously ill.
Then one day the unthinkable happened!
My beautiful, precious two year old daughter, Bethany was diagnosed with a life threatening brain tumor.
At the very moment she was diagnosed, we were told she was in danger of dying.
She needed surgery to remove that tumor almost immediately!
Following the surgery, Bethany suffered with one setback and life threatening complication after another.
One of those complications permanently and multiply disabled her.
She would never again be the same little girl that she had been before her brain surgery.
My faith was shattered!
I questioned God. “How could you let this happen? I prayed for all of us to be healthy every single day and yet you let my baby girl get a brain tumor!”
While I won’t go so far as to say that I lost my faith in God entirely over this heart wrenching tragedy, I will honestly admit that I did lose my faith in the power of prayer and I still struggle with that to this day.
Now, nearly sixteen years later, I still wonder what the point of praying is, if God is going to do (or allow) whatever He wants to despite what I ask of Him.
Is there really any power in prayer?
Do my measly prayers really have any effect on God at all?
Can my prayers really change God’s mind about anything?
I’m just a mere human after all…sinful, flawed, and lowly.
Just who the hell am I to believe that my prayers might have any influence on God at all?!
That’s giving myself an awful lot of power, isn’t it?
Yet, I do know of a few instances in the Bible when asking God to change His mind, did just that!
In Exodus 32 God had decided to wipe out the children of Israel for worshiping the golden calf. Moses pleaded with Him not to harm them and God did change his mind!
In Amos 7, God showed Amos that He was going to send a locust swarm to kill the crops and later a fire to destroy the land, but both times God changed His mind after Amos asked Him to.
Again, God said He would change His mind if certain circumstances were met, in Jonah 3 and in Jeremiah 18 and 26.
God is all powerful.
He can do or allow what ever He wants to.
But apparently, He does sometimes change His mind when asked to!
Somewhere along the way I realized that prayer is not a good luck charm or guarantee that nothing bad will ever happen and it’s certainly not just all about asking God for what we want.
Even though I’m certain I will always struggle with wondering whether there really is any power in prayer, I do still pray!
But I must admit, mostly I just pray because I know I’m supposed to and ironically, also because I’m afraid if I don’t something bad will happen.
I’ve sort of had to force myself to continue praying and accept the fact that whatever happens, God does know what He’s doing and why He’s doing it, even if I don’t.
If He does or allows something that seems senseless, bad or cruel to me, then He must have perfectly good reasons for doing so.
I just can’t comprehend those perfectly good reasons.
But someday I will understand.
Someday, it will all become perfectly clear and it will all make perfectly good sense!