Be careful who you make friends with. I made friends with the coordinator of prayer ministry at my church, and the next thing I know I’m on the prayer team. Actually it has been a very humbling experience. To read and hear the cries of many people, it becomes clear that we all need God in our painful, joyous, conflicted lives. I have heard that prayer may not change the issues, but it can change YOU (the pray-er). Prayer has definitely changed me. But I recently had a crisis as I was guided by this scripture in prayer for dear friend.
Philippians 4:6-7 New International Version (NIV)
6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
I’m not good with pain. I can endure it, but mostly i want to do whatever to stop it. I gave birth to three children and I never got an epidural. Not because I didn’t want one. I was trying to focus on getting the end result (childbirth) and didn’t want anything to hinder my goal. Each time, when I was finally ready to surrender to pain relief, I was told there was no time, and I would need to press on. By the grace of God, I did.
My struggle with raising my children was being able to let go of my worry and give my concerns to God in prayer. Surrender is a difficult thing. But I was encouraged by this Philippians scripture because it talks about a pathway to peace. Your choice is to be balled up in a fit of worry (sometimes quite literally), or give your concerns to God, and thank Him for what He has already done. Leave it at that. God promises He will never leave you. Whatever you go through, God will be with you. I take great comfort in that.
But what about when you pray for someone who is in pain? There is no promise to relieve that pain. There is no guarantee of an end in sight. I have searched the scripture and cannot find a magic prayer that assures God will instantly cease and desist pain and suffering. I know that He CAN. And I pray that He will. But how can I be a successful pray-er for someone who is in pain?
My rational self wants to research pain relief methods, look up medications, google remedies and find practical solutions that even advanced medical doctors don’t have. Surely there has got to be a specific answer. Lord, have mercy.
I know God will heal my friend. I don’t know when. Still, I will pray. I will surrender. I will trust. I will beg for mercy. I will pray that God will guide her doctors and medical team. I will thank God that He gave His only son so that my friend is forgiven. She is a precious child, worthy of healing. All glory and honor goes to God Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.
I cannot cure my friend. I cannot take away her pain. But I sure can pray to my loving and gracious God of hope.
Psalm 25: 1-7
1 In you, Lord my God, I put my trust.
2 I trust in you;
do not let me be put to shame,
nor let my enemies triumph over me.
3 No one who hopes in you
will ever be put to shame,
but shame will come on those
who are treacherous without cause.
4 Show me your ways, Lord,
teach me your paths.
5 Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long.
6 Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love,
for they are from of old.
7 Do not remember the sins of my youth
and my rebellious ways;
according to your love remember me,
for you, Lord, are good.
And we will wait on the Lord.
Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.