To Pray or Not to pray
By Betty J. Dalrymple
The three of us huddle beside the recently covered grave, tears freezing on our cheeks.
“You know what, Mom?” my older daughter asked. “I don’t know if I believe in the power of prayer anymore. I mean, weren’t all those prayers just a waste of time?”
“Wow, do I understand that feeling,” my younger daughter agreed. “Hundreds of people were praying for Dad and he still died, I sometimes wonder, ‘Didn’t God hear all of our prayers?’”
Like a zombie, I stood there in shock and whispered, “At any given time, I often feel the same way.” The I asked the question that haunted me night and day, “How could this have happened? I felt sure our prayers would be answered and your father’s cancer would go into remission.”
As those days of shock and sadness dragged on, I often returned to that cold January morning’s conversation. But how could I give up my belief in the power of prayer? After all, prayer was a priority in my life. My husband, Richard, and I always taught our children to pray. As an adult, I studied books on prayer, and when I read the story of the battle between Israel and Amalek in Exodus, I became fascinated with intercessory prayer. I learned that it was not only the fighters on the field of battle, but also the intercessors on the mountain that made a difference. I didn’t want to bury my prayer life in that grave with Richard, but doubt became a monster that crept in during the night and chided, “Remember how hard you prayed and how sure you were that God would answer?”
Then I’d remember how I tried every possible way of praying. Maybe if I had said the right words in the right way that would help. Perhaps if I prayed on my knees, or visited the prayer room at church, that would make a difference.
Even if the doctors said there was no hope, I would not believe them. I could not imagine life without Richard and I knew God understood and would not let him die. I would not accept their prognosis because I believed in the power of prayer. I knew like those Israelites, our many prayers would help us win the battle for extra time together. The internal argument continued because I knew in my heart I could not live without God in my life and that meant including prayer in my daily schedule.
One morning as I wrestled with the prayer question, the phone rang and my friend asked, “Would you please pray for me? I just found out my breast cancer has returned.”
I put aside my questions, stuffed my doubts, and said, “Of course I will.”
I rejoined our prayer ministry team, prayer for my family, friends, and many others. But something was missing. I had trouble focusing during prayer time, both at worship services and during my personal times of refection.
As the cold winter days turned to springtime, my daughters and I continued visiting the gravesite. “How do you two feel about the power of prayer now?” I asked on morning. Read the rest of this entry »
Archive for the ‘prayer’ Category
Posted by happypizza on November 11, 2008
There is a legend about two angels who were sent to earth to gather up the prayers of mankind.
One was to fill his basket with their petitions and the other was to gather their expressions of thankfulness. Some time later they both went back to the heavens.
One had a basket heaped high and running over with the innumerable petitions of men. The other returned with a sad and heavy heart, for his basket was almost empty.
The thanks of men were heard rarely on earth, even though the angel had searched diligently.
Let us not forget to express our thankuflness in our prayers.
Posted in content, contentment, heaven, positive, praiseful, prayer, Thank God, thankful | Tagged: angel with basket, angels, content, heaven, legend, petitions, positive, praise, prayer, story, Thank God, thankful | 1 Comment »
Posted by happypizza on February 8, 2008
The other day I was reading a post by another blogger regarding some of the difficulties she was facing. Their little family was going through a crisis time and she was trying to be both an encouragement and support to her husband and keep their outlook in a positive light, without the children really knowing about it or having to carry the burden as well. This mother’s love for her husband and family and the tricky domestic management situation she was cheerfully facing, touched my heart and made me thank God for mothers—mine included—who so faithfully care for their family day after day, year after year, often without much fanfare, special recognition or praise. It reminded me of this little prayer and tribute, written some time ago by one of my friends, in honor of all our mothers. Here it is
A PRAYER FOR MOTHERS:
Dear Jesus, bless the mothers who sat up again last night, soothing their crying, colicky babies.
Bless the mothers who read the same favorite bedtime story night after night, even though they could recite it in their sleep.
Bless the mothers who keep a treasured collection of their children’s artwork, from the first scribble to the latest masterpiece.
Bless the mothers who help support their families even when it means going to work with spit-up on their blouses, diapers in their purses, and teething rings on their key chains.
Bless the mothers who cheer the child who scored the winning goal, and bless the mothers who cheer on the child who has never scored a goal.
Bless the mothers who care for their sick children, treasuring the extra time together rather than begrudging the extra work.
Bless the mothers who daily teach their children the ways of love, peace, forgiveness, tolerance, and humility by their example.
Bless the mothers who teach their children to fold their hands in prayer, even before they can say a word.
Bless the mothers who acknowledge their mistakes and ask You to make up for their lacks.
Bless the mothers who never tire of praying for their children.
Bless the mothers who aren’t a picture of perfection but a personification of love.
Thank You, Lord, for mothers—old pro, rookie, or soon-to-be, single or married, rich or poor, mothers of their own children or mothers to the motherless—because without them we would not know that most beautiful thing, a mother’s love.