Today is the National Day of Prayer, so I pose the question with which I have wrestled: Why pray at all? During my twenty-five day stint at the Children's Hospital, I had a lot of time to think. After the doctor's left and it was quiet; I held my baby and listened to him breathing heavily as he slept. I looked at the bruises on his arms and feet where they poked him several times to start an IV. I looked at the tube that ran down his nose into his stomach so that he could receive the extra calories he needed to grow. I looked at the clock in anticipation of the next test Henry would have to endure and held back the tears.
I had been praying, for months, asking God to give my husband a job. I had cried out to Him to fix my baby, but Henry wasn't getting better and we still didn't have all the answers as to what was going on with him. I was tired, and I didn't feel like I could pray any more. I didn't have any more words, and for the first time in my walk with God, I felt numb.
I also felt deeply alone. Alone, because for a majority of days I was alone. Alone, because I felt isolated in my pain and sufferings and did not know many people who could relate to what I was going through. Alone, because I didn't FEEL like God was there, I didn't FEEL His presence, He seemed distant, if at all there, and silent.
If God is all knowing, than He already knows what I need and want. If God is all powerful, than He could answer my prayers. Yet at times He chooses not too (or at least not in the way or time I want). This has been hard for me to work out in my faith. Some people believe God will do anything we ask Him to do, and that if we pray and believe hard enough than it will come to pass. I don't believe that. I do however, believe God is all powerful, I do believe He is all knowing, and I do believe He loves me. This belief isn't based on my feelings. I have found over time, that my feelings change, but God does not. I believe these things about God because the Bible tells me, and I believe it to be His Sovereign Word.
So why pray, when our prayers may not be answered in our timing or to our liking? Here's what the Bible says:
1. God is listening
"This poor man called and the Lord heard." Psalm 34:6
"His ears are attentive to their cry." Psalm 34:15
2. God will give you wisdom
Ephesians 1:17, James 1:5-7
3. When we don't know what to pray for God's Spirit will interceed for us
4. His Will is done
Romans 1:10, Matthew 26
5. Jesus did when He was overwhelmed and sorrowful (yes, He felt these emotions!)
6. It can keep you from falling into temptation
7. God will reward you
"When you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret will reward you." Matthew 6:6
I don't think this is speaking of a reward as we think of a reward. I think the reward has to do with the fact that we are in correct relationship with Him through prayer.
8. Prayer leads to peace
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving make your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:8-9
Over the past few months, I have questioned God with my doubts and fears and whys? He has answered some, perhaps not all of my questions. Undoubtedly, inspite of my questions, He remains God. The same today, yesterday and forever. I have had to work out my faith, I have been forced to ask the hard questions and I have come to the conclusion that I trust Him. I may not understand everything He does. His ways might not fit my "expectations."
I am still in the midst of a struggle, for I desperately want God to heal my child. I'm not sure how He will answer. Regardless, He remains God. I am thankful He can handle my questions, my fears and my doubts. I need not explain Him or prove Him. I will however, continue to cry out to Him. I know He is listening, I know He understands how I feel, I know His will will be done, and I have felt the peace that comes when I turn my fears and anxieties over to Him in prayer.