I’ve been praying since I was a child and I still do it everyday. Not just at mealtimes and bedtime, but in bursts throughout the day as I process and think. Like a conversation I am always having in my head. Prayers of thanks, prayers for help, prayers on others behalf, prayers for clarity, prayers of confession.
Praying is weird. It’s no small thing to believe that I can talk to the God of the universe about anything at any time. And that He not only hears, but that He cares. To some of you that sounds crazy, I know.
But I believe in it. I believe that those conversations in my head (or spoken aloud) reach a God on the other end who loves to hear from me. And you. And every human that He created. A personal and intimate God that wants relationship with His people- even when we can’t see, hear or touch Him.
Sometimes I ask God for a miracle. A miracle is something only God can do, so if I want one then I suppose He’s the one to ask. But when I do, my theology of prayer gets worked. What do I think happens when I pray? What if God says no? Can my prayers change things?
I have some baggage when it comes to prayer. The kind that can still feel heavy and awkward to carry after all these years. I prayed every day for 12 years for one thing and ultimately God said No. I asked Him to heal my mom from breast cancer and let her live. Seemed like a win/win situation- we get to keep her and she continues to shine like a star in the universe. But He had another plan, one that I don’t understand but that I ultimately trust.
I never totally abandoned the idea that God heard my prayers or that He cared, but after I lost my mom I struggled with whether or not my prayers were useful. That maybe God was going to do His thing that fit into His plan and that my pleading didn’t matter. Why pray then?
There are times in scripture when the prayers of God’s people change things. And there are times when they don’t. That’s hard to work with. But what is consistent is that God made us, loves us, knows everything, can do anything and has a plan to redeem the world. So when we pray for a specific outcome but God allows something different, we must do our best to walk in the things that never change.
This week I am praying (along with lots of others, thank you) for a specific outcome. And when I am scared that it won’t pan out like I hope, I try to remind myself of what I just said up there.
At our last orthopedic appointment with our 2 month old baby, the doctor said that the treatment for hip dysplasia we have been doing for the past 5 weeks has not shown the progress they were hoping to see. One of her hips has stabilized (stays in the joint, although loosely) but the other will not seem to come together. If still no progress has been made by our next appointment then surgery will likely be the next step. That next appointment was scheduled for this Friday but just got changed to tomorrow (Wednesday) morning. Yikes.
I started to shut down a little when he used the word surgery. All I heard was that they’d want to do it soon, that she’d be in a cast for a while and that she’d still have to wear the harness thing another 6 months after the cast comes off. I do not want to go down that road. So we are praying that tomorrow morning the ultrasound will show her little hips in their sockets and that surgery would be off the table. Can you pray that with us?
I get nervous to pray specifically with confidence. Like I am a kid telling my parent how things are going to go down, while keenly aware that they know better than I do and it might not happen. Ugh, I kind of hate that. But maybe what I want is also His will? Maybe my prayer of faith will alter the course? It’s possible and He tells me to pray, so I do.
But I believe that the primary purpose of prayer is to abide. To dwell, remain, stay connected. To communicate as naturally as we breathe. Giving Him praise, telling Him what we think and feel even when it’s ugly. Casting our worries on Him, leaning on his strength to walk through whatever lies ahead. Praying not for the absence of pain, but for the comfort that can only come from Him.
As we abide, our will slowly comes in line with Christ and His will. And when we don’t understand (or like) His will, He promises to give us peace that passes understanding. So this post is for me tonight- to remind me of the things I know and to abide in them. To stay fixed on the things I can be certain of- that He made Poppy, loves her, knows everything, can do anything and that He has a plan. A good one.