The Mystery that is Prayer

I don’t fully understand how prayer works. We’ve been praying fervently for the daughter of a friend for more than a month now. She suffered severe consequences after the birth of her 7th child and was near death. Now, 34 days later, she is home and recovering.

But 9 years ago, we prayed fervently for the young teenaged son of another friend who had suffered a severe brain injury after being closed up in a sofa bed while playing around with his sister, and he didn’t make it.

Both had large groups of people praying fervently. What was the difference? Did God love one family more than another? Not at all! Was He on vacation 9 years ago? Ridiculous! But I asked some serious “why” questions after Mark died.

We are commanded to pray, and James says that the “fervent prayer of the righteous available much” (James 5:16). Just throwing out the fact that God is sovereign doesn’t bring much comfort to that family that lost a child.

When I miscarried our first child after years of trying to get pregnant, I questioned God. But I never doubted His love. I just didn’t understand His plan.

Job said, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord” (Job 1:20).

Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego acknowledged that their God was able to save them from the fiery furnace, but even if He didn’t, they would still not worship the idol that Nebuchadnezzar had set up.

When Jesus said some things that were hard for some to here, they turned away and stopped following Jesus, When that happened, He said to His disciples, “you don’t want to go away, too, do you?” Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God” (Matt. 6:66-69).

He is the Holy One of God. He loves us more than we can ever imagine. The Bible promises us that He works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).

We don’t doubt this, but, as C.S. Lewis wrote, sometimes we just wonder how painful that “good” is going to be. But through the hard times, painful though they be, we don’t leave, because He does, indeed, have words of eternal life. And He weeps along with us.

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