In our crises, who are our “go-to” people? As the dust settles following our recent health event, a few thoughts about why we ask for prayer…
I’ve made a few 911 calls for Carol. The reason looked the same this time, but the outcome was different. When tests came back clean and the I.V. didn’t perk her up, she was admitted for what turned into a 10 day stay. It ended up being pneumonia from an unidentified bug. Recovery will be weeks, not days.
I sent a message to everyone asking for prayer. I’m sure no explanation was needed. Even so, I’d like to clarify why we invite others to join us in these special seasons.
When I hit the send button…
…it had nothing to do with hitting the panic button. It wasn’t desperation… it wasn’t some nebulous foraging for good vibes and positive thoughts from other humans.
…it had nothing to do with creating some melodrama to get attention. Rather, it was a request for prayerful attention to the needs of a suffering saint. Are we not commanded to pray for one another? Won’t we pray better if we are well informed?
…it had nothing to do with trying to arm wrestle God. The way some people claim a promise and cling to the hope of healing makes continued illness and death look like a lapse of faith in those who prayed, or worse: maybe God abandoned us. Have you noticed that disease and mortality rates are about the same for everyone, whether we claim to have strong faith or not? The big picture stretches more than a few inches beyond our physical well-being.
…it had nothing to do with prayer being a painkiller. Our inner child is not screaming, "It hurts! It hurts! Make it stop!" We are not trying to evade reality or merely numb the pain. We pray for grace to say “Thank you, Lord”… whether it keeps hurting or not. We learn to use the pain.
What initially drew Carol and me together was our shared experience of having opened our hearts to the Gospel. As believers in Jesus Christ, we understand that our demise is a matter of history. We died when we surrendered the helm of our lives to our Lord and Savior. The death of our body is merely a transition for us. That makes our life in Christ today a sure foundation… a joyful anticipation.
We ask for prayer because...
...we seek consolation more than deliverance; the kind that only the Holy Spirit can give; the kind that allows us to live with eyes wide open, facing what is, facing down the fear, the bitterness, and the doubt... gazing straight through to what awaits us on the other side.
...we seek the "Pain-User" more than relief from the pain. There is little promise of pleasantness here. Yet, there is assurance of bliss, absence of pain and complete satisfaction in God’s presence forever.
…we seek a holy resignation to our Sovereign Savior. We’re not working God simply to buy more time. We tire of testimonies that end with, "Thank God, I’m better", followed by more broken vows about following Jesus. Borrowed time should not be squandered.
...most importantly, others are watching, particularly those closest to us. They grew up hearing us talk about how we came to Jesus because of what lay ahead. Well, "ahead" is here. The time remaining to us is a mercy… a mercy to those around us who need to see the light of Jesus shine brighter as our earthly fragility grinds our bodies to dust.
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20, ESV)
“For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's.” (Romans 14:8, ESV)