There are some things that happen in life to show me what I don’t know. We’ve been praying for a boy in West Virginia by the name of Eli Clark. He had very aggressive brain cancer and endured treatments for months. Earlier this year the doctors sent him home saying there was nothing more that they could do.
The family asked for and received prayers. On Tuesday Eli went for a follow-up MRI. The test results came back. Here was the report from Eli’s dad Roy, “Doctors are stumped. Nothing is growing, largest legions are significantly reduced. Inflammation is drastically diminished. Praise be to God.”
The power of prayer is something we take for granted and/or don’t put much stock in these days. Please understand, I’m not advocating a miracle has happened. Those days have ceased (I Cor. 13:8ff). However, prayer works to change the world. Providence is a wonderful and mighty thing. Miracles are where God works outside of natural law, whereas providence is God working through “normal” and natural processes. Providence is occurring. How you ask? I suggest that you live right and ask when you get to Heaven. The secret things belong to the Lord our God (Deu 29:29).
What I do know is that God commands us to pray. That prayer influences the mind of God and the course of the world. How that happens is beyond me, just as God’s ways and thoughts are above our ways and thoughts.
Jesus tells us that when we ask, we shall receive; and when we knock, the door will open (Mat 7:7-8). James tells us that those requests should be tempered by godliness because often times we ask amiss (James 4:1-3). James tells us to pray for the sick (physically and spiritually) (James 5), Paul teaches us to pray for the government, our ability to live, for the spread of the Gospel, his well being, and a host of other things.
The idea is that prayer has power. Why should we pray if things can’t change? Will God suspend the laws of nature and perform miracles on command? No. He will listen to the righteous and answer every prayer (Is 59:1-2). Those answers fall into three categories; Yes, no, and wait awhile.
There are things in life that serve to remind me that I don’t know everything and that God is in control. I will never be able to say why God answers prayers the way He does. I do hope to live right and ask. However, I know that “…all things work together for good to them that love God…” (Rom 8:28). I know that David said, “I have been young and now I am old; yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread” (Ps 37:25).
When we trust in the Lord, submit to His will, obey His Gospel, and walk in His light, things will be alright. Will we always have everything we want and be happy and rich? No, but we will have everything we need (Matt 6:33). When we’re happy, Christians rejoice with us, and when we’re sad brothers and sisters weep with us (Rom 12:15). We have comfort when we need it so we can comfort others when they are in need (2 Cor 1:3ff).
What I do know is that the prayers of the righteous man availeth much (James 5:16). Let us not doubt God or His ability to be affected by our petitions. Let us marvel and rejoice that we serve a God who loves, cares for, and listens to us!