This post is a little bit different from the norm, but maybe there is someone out there that needs it today.
Do you remember what was going on in your life when prayer became real to you? A lot of us prayed as children just because our parents did, but there needs to be a time when your prayers made a difference in your life.
I remember when it changed for me. We found out my mother had cancer. The doctors gave her thirty days to live. Imagine discovering that you have to cram the rest of your life into thirty days!
Naturally, I prayed for God’s healing. I believed God could heal her and didn’t want to believe that He would do anything else but make her well again. She was a beautiful, Christian woman and still had children to raise. She was too young to die.
Everyday I prayed, “God, heal her.” I thought I should have some semblance of God’s comforting presence after I prayed, but I didn’t. God wasn’t answering my prayers?
One night, my husband and I were talking about my mom and he asked, “What if she does die? Will you be able to handle it?” I don’t know why he felt he needed to ask me that. I didn’t think it was necessary for anyone to force reality on me.
As much as I hated to admit it, his "what if" question made me think of things I had pushed aside for so long. I realized that she wouldn’t always be a phone call away, even if she did live for several more years. I didn’t know it at the time, but those questions changed my prayer life.
My dad’s reports on mom’s health were good. Maybe he didn’t want to face reality either. But, since I lived in a different state and couldn't see her I had to live on the hopes that my family gave me.
Later that night, I started to say the usual shallow prayer for my mothers return to health. I still believed in intercessory prayer and that God could heal her. I still prayed that he would, but I added something new. “Lord, you know I want her to be healed and I know you can make her healthy again, but if she does go home to You, please prepare me for that.” I didn’t know if it would make any difference, but I tried.
There were so many people at church who tried to give me support by saying, “If your mother does pass on, it will be a great relief to you and your family to know that she is home with the Lord and that she is no longer suffering.” “You know she’s saved, so you’ll see her in Heaven again someday.”
I loathed being told those things. I wanted to scream at them, “You’re talking about my mother, my best friend, my daughter’s grandmother. How can you tell me how I’m going to feel and that it’s going to be OK?”
To be honest, I didn’t believe that knowing my mother was in Heaven would be much consolation for me, no matter what anyone said. All I was sure of was that my mom would not be here on earth with me, where she was needed. I wouldn’t be able to talk to her and she wouldn’t see my children grow up. Being an adult, being married and being a mother myself, made no difference. I still needed her.
When the phone rang one evening, I didn’t want to answer it. I knew who it was and what they were going to say. Knowing that whether I answered the phone or not, the message would still be the same, I picked up the receiver.
“Hello?” I hoped for a wrong number.
A voice that sounded like my brother’s, but was quiet with sadness, simply said, “Mom’s gone.”
I told my husband and then I sat down, expecting the tears to start flowing uncontrollably. A few did come, but not as many as I had expected. They were almost forced. I felt guilty. I thought I should have been bawling my eyes out. She was my mother after all.
When the funeral was over and everything had settled, my husband made a comment that again made me think. “Your family seems to be doing OK.” That was when I realized that what I had prayed for, God had granted; the part about being able to handle whatever God sent my way. True to one of His aching souls, He prepared me.
The last words my mom said to me were, “I love you. I want to go home.” Now she was finally home, doing what she had been created for, worshipping her Lord.
Through this, I have really learned to lean on God and apply scripture to my own life. My favorite verses in the Bible are Romans 8:26-27. When I use these verses, they bring peace to my prayer life. I have asked the Holy Spirit for help many times since then. And every time when the problems were all over, I could see where God’s hand had been at work. He was strengthening my family and me. Every time God provided the comfort I needed, and I know that He will continue to do just that. I can see God at work more now than ever before.
The power of prayer is not something we can be taught, whether we were raised by Christian parents or not. We can watch other people learn, but it won’t really have any effect on us till we learn it for ourselves. Praying is such a large part of our walk with Christ. It is how we communicate to God and partly how God communicates to us, if we are willing to sit quietly and listen. His comfort is always there, waiting.