What Prayer Means to Me…

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I began on November 10, 2016.

Here it is March 7, 2017.

I began after the presidential election of 2016 for a reason. I had been posting on Adam Hamilton’s book Seeing Gray in a World of Black and White. I began posting on that book on March 29, 2016. That book was so controversial that my mother often asked “Are you having angry people knocking on your door?” After the contentious election, I felt that maybe we needed to study prayer.

Now it is time to leave The God Who Hears by W. Bingham Hunter, to put a conclusion on a book that meant a lot to me.

I am going to get personal in this last day of my comments on Hunter’s book.

Forgive me.

Some of you know I was in the midst of a recovery from the worst accident in my life. I broke my pelvis and had other injuries and my surgeon said “sit and do nothing” for three months.

What a time to study prayer. . .

A perfect time to study prayer.

I had times when I prayed fervent prayers for healing.   I prayed prayers for sleep when I could not sleep due to an inactive lifestyle. I prayed prayers for a cessation of pain as I had days of severe pain, especially in my right leg.   I prayed for strength as I tried to motivate myself to do simple exercises to keep myself from losing all my muscle mass. I prayed for joy when I hit depths of depression looking out the window at other people doing things I wanted to do, simple things like walk, drive a car and mow a yard.

I knew people were praying for me. I received so many cards and letters from my church and friends. The stack was impressive. I got phone calls from people near and far, telling me that they were praying for my recovery.   I got weekly letters from a church in South Carolina, a Methodist Church that had Sunday intercessory prayer meetings for people who needed healing. I travelled to that church in March to attend one of their worship services. I had special visits from friends who grabbed my hand and I held on as they prayed for me.

Not only did I learn a lot from the very dense discussion of W. Bingham Hunter, I experienced prayer first-hand. When I read Romans 12:12, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer”, I know what it means. Psalm 116: 1-2 took on a whole new meaning for me: “I love the Lord for He has heard my voice; He heard my cry for mercy. Because He turned His ear to me, I will call on Him as long as I live.” Philippians 4:6 says “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition with Thanksgiving present your requests to God.” I know what that means now.

Hunter may have helped a few readers along the way, but he certainly helped me. I began to understand the idea that God sees prayer very differently than man.   I began to understand that very simple prayers are those that just ask for the things we want and I began to grapple with the idea that God knows what I want and need more than I do.   I began to understand the idea that an unanswered prayer is unanswered for a reason. I began to understand the best way to approach prayer is to pray for God’s will to be done, not mine.

Pastor Billy Graham says “Prayer is one of the greatest privileges God has given to us. Why ignore it, or act as if it doesn’t make any difference? If Jesus prayed, shouldn’t we pray also?”

We should.

We should study prayer.

We should appreciate the prayers of others.

I should now pray prayers of thanks for the healing that has occurred in my body. I am not back to 100% but I am so much further along than I expected to be.

I attribute it all to the miracle of healing and the power of prayer.

I work-out every day at a rehab-workout facility.   Yesterday, I was in the heated lap pool doing my daily exercises. I began doing this in January and then I could only do one lap in the pool.   Today I am up to 10. I can feel my strength slowly returning, praise God. As I was in the pool, a crippled man with a walker came into the area. He seemed so feeble and had a very pained look on his face.   As I watched him move, I was truly afraid that he would fall and hurt himself but slowly he made his way into the pool. I continued my work-out and eventually I reached a stopping spot and there he was close by with a question. He asked my age and I said 65. He said he was 67 and he told me about the painful physical problems he was having with his body. I said I knew how to use a walker but I was only on one for three months. He will be on his walker for much, much longer, maybe the rest of his life.

I got ready to leave the pool and go home but I did something out of character.   I turned to him and I said his first name and I said “Tomorrow morning when I get up I will pray for you.”

He simply said “Thank you David.”

 

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