Since August of 2017 we’ve been upheld by you precious praying friends. And today, I’m asking again: will you pray big? If you read my last update on LeRoy, you know that we saw a new doctor a few weeks ago who told us that pain blocking injections can sometimes help with his condition . . . which gave us a little hope until she added the news that the pain block injection works best if administered in the first six months of the nerve damage. And we’re now twenty-one months into this.
But, last week we were encouraged by a different specialist (that came highly recommended) to proceed with those injections—and today is the day we begin. Will you pray that these will be effective?
Will you ask with me?
We come before the Lord with an open hand, not a clinched fist. But just as King Hezekiah, when he was threatened by the king of Assyria, took the letter from that pagan king which mocked his trust in God, and laid it out before the Lord, and looked to Him alone for deliverance—we are coming to God, knowing that He can deliver LeRoy from this debilitating pain and disease, with or without medical assistance.
We repeat the appeal that Isaiah records:
“O Lord of hosts, God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth. Incline your ear, O Lord, and hear; open your eyes, O Lord, and see . . .” (Isaiah 37:16–17)
We are confident that our Lord sees, He knows, and He cares about all that LeRoy has endured during this long season of illness. We absolutely know that all He does is right and good. We aren’t demanding healing or relief, but on the basis of God’s merciful character, we are asking for it.
We are asking in faith . . . asking big things, but asking with an open hand and yielded heart.
Because the prayer of faith is not the prayer of demand, but it is the prayer of trust and surrender. Healing does not come from a person, a prayer, or following a certain “healing” criteria. Healing comes from God’s merciful hand, in His timing, and for His purposes.
As I’ve soaked in the book of James in recent months, one of the passages I grappled with mentions “the prayer of faith” (the only time that phrase is recorded in Scripture, by the way). In James 5:17–18, we see Elijah as an example of a man of faith whose prayers were effective and powerful because they came out of the overflow of obedience to God.
Elijah’s prayers were powerful and effective because they were coming from the heart and word of God.
This is why it is important for us to pray Scripture. When we lift prayers that are shaped and informed by God’s Word, we know that we are praying in line with God’s ways. And if we want assurance that we are praying in line with the heart of God, we should follow Jesus’ example as He prayed the most intense cries to God ever recorded, during His final hours before the crucifixion in the Garden of Gethsemane.
In the Garden, Jesus cries out, “Not as I will, but as You will.” During his hours of agony before his betrayal, Jesus prayed for God’s will above anything else. That is how all our prayers should be expressed—not my will, Father, but Your will be done.
Praying “in faith” does not mean that we demand for God to do what we think is best. Praying “in faith” doesn’t ensure the answer you hope for, but “praying in faith” will include yielding to God’s will.
Think about it . . . was Jesus “praying in faith” in the garden? When He said, “Not my will, but Yours”? He made His request, then He surrendered to the cross.
Jesus was praying from a pure heart and an open hand—fully surrendered to the Father’s will and plan. It’s hard to wrap our minds around this Trinitarian mystery, but that’s what we see happen in the garden the night before his crucifixion. Jesus prayed in faith, made His request, and the Father’s answer was for Him to continue on His path to the cross.
That is how we know that we are praying according to God’s will, when we follow Jesus’ example in how we pray. We can have confidence to come before Him when we are asking that: if our requests are off-base or are selfish or impure, if what we’re asking isn’t according to the Father’s plan or His will, or maybe the timing is wrong . . . when we tell Him, “Not my will, but Yours be done” we can be assured that He is listening and will answer.
When we release our requests to God, for those requests to go through the sifting work of His sovereign plans, we can be at peace that He will answer those prayers, according to His will.
And that is what we most want, right? God’s will to be done? Not ours?
I’m asking big for my husband. I’m asking that God would display His merciful character and bring healing and relief from the pain. I’m asking for God’s will to be done, and for Him to prepare our hearts to receive what He has for us. And I’m asking with an open hand.
Will you join me?