So last time we met up, we were praying about:
– Healing & restoration for Tim T., especially where his kids are concerned.
– Mindy & Jackie are undergoing treatment for breast cancer.
– J.N. is in San Diego undergoing treatment for prostate cancer.
– Dee and her husband as they continue to walk through the grief of losing a daughter five years ago and a son, two months ago.
– My friend Eddie reports that his pastor has been diagnosed with cancer and needs our prayers.
– My daughter is a mentor to a young girl. That girl is hospitalized right now, the result of a broken hip. Pray God’s healing and protection over this child.
In answers to prayer:
– Nephew Zack is healing up from his accident.
– Linda reports that her disabled daughter has been feeling and sleeping better.
– Rec’d a note from JN and his wife. He’s been going to Loma Linda for cancer treatments. They report that there has been very little side affects. They’ve met some wonderful people who are also undergoing treatment. They spend a few days there then head back to their retirement community in Arizona where they are able to enjoy their time. Let’s continue to pray for JN’s healing but are so thankful that all is going as well as it is.
– I mentioned the young girl that my daughter mentors. Things are not going well in that department. Word this week is that she is being pulled out of school to heal a major bone that has inexplicably been broke twice this year. She’s in a wheelchair now. Please pray for wisdom as my daughter seeks to be a voice of advocacy and protection for this young girl. Please pray that there will be some way for this girl to continue on with her schooling at school. If she’s not at school, who will be able to check on her physical condition on a day-to-day basis? She is in a dangerous, precarious situation. We know that. The question is how does one best intervene here? Prayers, please.
I need to stop right here and confess something. I’ve been wrestling through this prayer thing, which I’ve come to accept will likely be a life-long battle. It’s hit me particularly hard with this young girl, that I’ve been praying earnestly for. I understand in her case that prayer isn’t enough. She needs an advocate. My daughter is being that. That said, I am frustrated to see children like her in these situations which I know to be neglectful and perhaps dangerous. So prayer seems like such an insignificant act in light of what this child has suffered.
She said to my daughter one day, “Why do bad things keep happening to me? I try to be good. I am not mean, not even to Mother Nature.”
The desperation in that question rocks me to my core.
I feel that desperation when I am praying for this child. And when I’m praying for a loved one who is struggling with infertility. And when I am praying for a loved one who needs a job. And when I’m praying for a loved one who feels stuck in life.
That is the one thing I don’t like about praying. It is an admission of I can’t fix this, and oh boy, I am all about fixing things. So I will pray hopefully for awhile, at first, using prayer like an epoxy glue. Got to slap it on that crack fast as I can, and heal the broken in body and spirit.
Then, when months go by, and in some cases, years, I grow weary of the praying. I begin to doubt the effectualness of prayer, or at least of my prayers. I begin to question what’s wrong with me. And as one said this week, I begin to imagine that God is messing with me.
He’s hearing the prayers. He just is ignoring them the way a mother does a whining toddler. Or maybe he’s a wicked narcissist who just likes to force me into a place where I am utterly dependent upon his capricious nature. Maybe he will open the womb of the barren, maybe he will send a wonderful mate for the one who is lonely, maybe he will bring that child through the horrors of childhood to be the next Condi Rice.
But, I know, if God has such a nature — one that would overlook the pleas of a barren woman who wants a child, or of a child desperate for a loving mother — then, I cannot worship that God.
And I certainly cannot pray to Him for anything. I want nothing, nothing from a God who would treat his people so.
I wrestle my way through that.
And come back to this place — God is good. He wants good things for all of us. The best things of life. Sin has jinxed that for all of us. Our only way out of the jinx is to draw closer to God, even when none of makes any sense, even when the child remains in the arms of those who would harm her, even when the childless couple remains childless, even as the underemployed search for work, even when the cancer grows, even when the lonely are ignored.
Of course, we must do more than pray because it is through us that God perfects His will. We must be the advocate for the voiceless. We must mentor the children. We must help our friends or loved ones find jobs. We must feed them when they don’t. We must quit relying on Match.com to do the hook-ups, and invite the outsider into our tight-knit cliques. We must help the childless couple with the costs of fertility treatments or adoption.
But we must bathe all that we do in prayer.
We must soak in prayer the way we do in a hot tub, until our outer skin is transformed by the experience of praying.
Praying isn’t an epoxy.
Praying won’t fix all the ills that ail us.
But praying will transform us.
Praying will equip us so that we can go about the business of being the hands and feet of Christ to that child that cries in desperation, Why do bad things keep happening to me?
How can we be praying for you?