“It’s impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that He exists and that He cares enough to respond to those who seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6 (The Message)
Prayer makes a difference, off the cuff, planned out, alone, with a group, in your head or out loud, God IS listening! You’re absolutely right, it’s a total faith-thing that I say all this. For me, prayer is my life-line. It connects me to my Creator. It releases all the nagging worry and frustration into the hands of the only One I believe can do anything about it. But even more than this… it’s a tool God has given me to use on behalf of others.
I used to get so frustrated sitting in the weekly parent support meetings for our recovering addict-child listening to people say,” there’s really nothing any of us can do to help our kids.” Hogwash!!! I understand “it’s their life” and, I get that it’s their ultimate decision to grab hold of sobriety or not, but we don’t have to be helpless by-standers. We have been given an incredible resource, Prayer!
Why do I believe this so strongly? Because I’ve seen it play out time after time. I’m not talking about ordering God around (-as if I’d know what’s best for myself or anyone else), or like God is some kind of genie in a bottle I can rub for wishes. The requests I’ve made in the past, “please, make this thing stop” or “Can this just go away” were too simplistic. God sees a bigger picture, after-all. He’s wanting lasting heart-change in all parties. So the question came to me, “What do I pray?”
The Bible is full of beautiful prayers asking God to direct, cover and teach. I’ve found these work great for those foolishly determined to run head-long into trouble. God’s Word is also full of promises such as, He hears the cries of the broken hearted and as a parent of a teen addict, my heart has certainly been broken! I knew for sure He was listening. I knew He was the God Who can make something out of nothing, even when everything looks hopeless, yet His ways are not my ways, His thoughts are not my thoughts. I searched it out and began to pray differently.
I stood in the gap for my child, asking for what he wouldn’t; for God to use this journey for all it’s worth. For not a moment or a lesson to be wasted – even if it hurt, and to use everything along the way to bring him wisdom, a future and a lasting hope. I prayed for mercy. I prayed for grace. I prayed for him to receive the mind of Christ; for God to put in him, Jesus-thinking (self-less, caring, giving, serving, God-honoring, purposeful…). I prayed in his room. Sometimes I walked around, sometimes I knelt by the bed. Sometimes I just laid on the floor and cried out (not when he was home of course!). It’s not a formula, but I’m sure God was listening.
Today, I look at a man that God has done wonders in! He is serving others and doing his thing for God. I still pray for him and all my children daily. Who else is going to care about their outcome more than me (and their dad)? Leaving the details to God, There is something you can actively do instead of silently suffering that anxious knot in your stomach (I’ve felt way too often). There is always hope, because there is ALWAYS prayer!
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. (Romans 12:12 NIV)