Power of Prayer

In recent months, my personal prayer life has been tested, pretty regularly. I am thankful for the opportunities to be able to go to God with praises, concerns, and hurts. I have always enjoyed going back and looking at how God has answered prayers. Lately, I have had a struggle with the prayers that do not seem to be answered my way.

Years ago, Garth Brooks wrote a song called “Unanswered Prayers”. It is a song that reminds us to thank God for the prayers that He does not answer the way we would have liked. In that song, Garth realizes that God was right in not granting him the girl of his dreams. In my own life, I have seen God specifically not give me what I asked for, only to look back years later to see that God knew what was best for me. This is not where I struggle.

My struggle has been in praying for others. I probably spend more time praying for others than I do for myself. My Wednesday nights and Thursday mornings are spent praying for the prayers of my students. I have prayed for students and have seen those prayers not answered in the way I thought they should be. Of, course, this is a test, because I have to remember that God does know best. The testing comes when the students don’t understand why God did not answer the prayers. I try to explain that we can look back later and truly see that Gods plan was perfect. My struggle has come when the person may not get to see Gods plan in action.

Recently I, along with our other pastors, have been praying for a young lady who has been in a coma. We have been praying with her and her family for months. We have even shared the gospel with her. Yet, the prayers have not been answered the way I want. I was struggling because I made it all about me. When I was talking to this young lady about God and Jesus, I began weeping. I realized that it always needs to be about Him, a lesson I know I learned, but for some reason, I had forgotten.

The other struggle is one I am not sure I am done struggling with yet. A few months ago, I had the privilege of performing the memorial service for a good friend. She had been stricken with cancer years ago. It went into remission, but then came back. As I began to walk along with her and her family, we continually prayed that God would heal her again. As the months went on, we began to come to grips with the fact that she was not going to be healed. When she got word that the chemo was not working, I was there, praying and crying with the family. I can remember being angry with God. She was young, recently married, and going to be a mom. As she was entering her final days, she and I were able to speak privately. After she told me she was afraid, she then said something to me that still resonates in my head. She said that she was afraid, but she still knew that God has not changed. She asked who was she to question the same God who has loved her. Plus, she knew where she was going. Her final thoughts were for her family and friends who did not know Christ.

I still struggle with her death, and yet, I have found comfort. In Psalm 40, we see David crying out to God while he was stuck in a pit, in clay. He said that he waited patiently for God, and God heard him. Through this, God has taught me patience. Waiting on Him has value. It also taught me that, again, it has to be about Him. There is power in prayer. I just continue to pray that God will not give up on me…and I know He won’t. He promises that He will be faithful to complete the good work in me that He started. I just need to remain faithful, thankful, and prayerful.

Pastor Derrick