What does prayer mean to you? Is it simply a form of meditation? Perhaps a last ditch effort or plea when times are tough? Or is it an amazing and powerful connection between the Divine and mankind? I’m usually amazed when I hear the phrase, “all I can do is pray.” In my opinion, that’s the equivalent of “I’m sorry, all I have is this nuclear warhead to take into battle.” I have seen amazing things happen, things that can’t be explained away by science, but by faith alone that a prayer was answered. Prayer is powerful stuff! Jesus promises us if we ask for anything in His name, He will give it to us.
You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.
In that day you will no longer ask me anything. Very truly I tell you, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name.
Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.
Now, please don’t confuse Jesus and Santa. Promising to be good for a year and handing over a list of wants isn’t exactly where I’m going. But God knows the desires of our heart and right now, the desire of my heart is to somehow sit in first class as my husband and I fly overseas to Abuja, Nigeria. I have short legs that swing like a kindergartener’s when I sit in almost any seat. After sitting for hours, they hurt with an ache that isn’t easily remedied and my feet and toes swell like little sausages. In first class, there are wonderful recliners that have foot rests and passengers are able to stretch out. Ahh “sleep, perchance to dream…”
I’ve been in less selfish situations where I have turned to prayer, usually for someone else. I have also been so desperate I would have bargained anything that God would give me what my heart desired. Three years ago I buried my daughter. We found out 20 weeks into the pregnancy that her chance for survival was less than 1%. Prayer, not just the supportive prayer of loved ones, but one on One, heartfelt and intimate prayer helped us keep our sanity. We leaned on God, we leaned on each other and we held on to hope that she would be a miracle child, but it was not to be. God had other plans for Rachel. I trust that in His unfathomable wisdom, He knew better. Rachel would have been severely handicapped and her life would have been little more than existing. This world is not kind to the severely handicapped, but heaven is. It’s a wonderful place that has freed her from her earthly prison. It was hard during that time to trust. We prayed often but she was born to heaven one February afternoon. We held her, kissed her chubby fingers and cried. Then we let her go, knowing that she was already gone long before we gave her up. Did God hear our prayers? Of course he did! We absolutely believe that we will see Rachel again one day and she will be perfect.
Sometimes God says, “Yes,” and sometimes He says, “No, wait, I have something much better for you.” Trusting Him to do that takes faith and patience. It might mean that we have to change our perception of what is actually best for us. How can we possibly know when we can only see glimpses instead of the whole picture? All too often I’ve fallen short and symbolically shaken my fists toward heaven and cried, “Why?” I know that when I have waited on God, He has always provided, always loved, always done what was best. How many times have we looked back and asked ourselves, “What would I have done if that prayer had actually been answered the way I asked?” God is good all the time and all the time, God is good. So here I sit, in the airport, waiting to cross the Atlantic, eager to see friends, love on some orphans and teach young minds. Those are my goals. I crave prayer from friends and family like a woman on a diet craves chocolate! It gives such peace and spiritual nourishment for my soul (prayer, not the chocolate). Please pray for our safety, for good health, for our families while we’re far from them and maybe, just maybe, I may be writing again one day to tell you that I got to sit in first class.