Going to memorial services for two friends this month gives one pause. One year ago, this week, my family faced our own crisis. It was a startling opportunity to practice what I preach. ◊
First of all, I am not a preacher. I am a business leader in the marketplace who is a Christian who also writes a weekly Christian blog in my spare time.
One year ago, the Tuesday after Labor Day, I took my otherwise healthy wife to the local emergency room for what we now know to have been some version of post-Covid syndrome.
It was a jarring and confusing time for all of us as the family dealt with the sudden shock and all 10 of our little grandchildren (ages 4-11) struggling with various levels of understanding Why is Grandma in the hospital?
Only God knew.
And the rest of us were left to wonder, ponder, and process the unthinkable.
A Case Study in Prayer
Most people say they pray. Most of us do not fully understand how prayer works, but we believe in it and are convinced it does work. Somehow. I suspect some don’t really believe in prayer, but aren’t against throwing out a strong plea for help to God or any potential higher power out there when in a crisis.
As they say, there are no atheists in foxholes.
I’m a big believer in the God of Abraham in the Bible and in the power of prayer. A simple search on the word “prayer” in my Biblical Viewpoint website will list 198 posts that I’ve written on the topic or related to prayer.
So when our emergency crisis hit with some level of mystery and lots of uncertainty as to the near and long term impact, I did what most people do. I prayed. And so did our family and many friends.
Now looking back, I can see what I instinctively prayed and what I did not instinctively pray:
- I did not get angry with God.
- I did not ask God why was this happening.
- I did praise God and acknowledge Him as sovereign over all things.
- I did acknowledge that He was actively working what we could scarcely understand.
- I did surrender the whole situation and my wife to Him.
- I did invite the Holy Spirit to envelop my wife’s heart, mind, body, and soul.
- I did acknowledge that our lives are in God’s hands and He numbers our days.
- I did ask for God’s will here, not our own.
- I did acknowledge my belief in God’s kingdom and submission to His hope and assurances.
- I did make a request and petition for Debbie to be restored to a full and vibrant life, even for decades.
- I did promise to trust and seek God and walk whatever path was laid before us.
- I did pray in the authority of Jesus’ name and through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Here is the specific prayer for Debbie I shared in a BV post that week titled A Husband’s Prayer for His Wife:
My Lord God, you are sovereign and all-knowing. You are actively doing a good work we can sometimes scarcely fathom in the near and long term. I surrender Debbie to you and all that is going on within and around her. May your Holy Spirit surround her and envelop her heart, mind, body, and soul, with your peace, love, and fullness. You are the great physician who knows your children and numbers all of our days. May your will be clearly done here in this life on earth as it is in heaven. We submit our prayers as believers in the kingdom with hope and assurances of nothing more than your goodness and holiness and love and eternal plans that reach beyond our capacity to understand. Lord God, I humbly submit and petition for Debbie’s full and vibrant life, even for decades more; but for more life of joy and your love in this realm that pales in comparison to what you are preparing for all that know and love you. Thank you for your hand on us. We all continue to seek you and will walk the path you lay before us. I pray this in Jesus’ name and through the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Debbie was released from the hospital after one week. She recovered shortly thereafter and has been fully restored to health and vibrancy. The picture above was taken just recently over dinner celebrating our 43rd wedding anniversary.
Debbie shared with us later that even while she was in the hospital she never stopped praying as well. We determined that she was literally praying the same way I was praying.
Yes, while we may not fully understand how prayer works, we can certainly understand that God is real and true and sovereign. And no, we do not always get the happy endings as we would script them. But we can acknowledge that we are in submission to a God who loves us greatly who is doing a good work in the context of a larger story we do not fully understand.
And we can understand that the Holy Spirit, God’s presence on this earth within each of us who believe, is greater than any and all evil and dark forces also present in this world.
Again, the power of the Living God in us is greater than any power that might come against us. And with a very real spiritual battle raging on around us, we do well to equip and arm ourselves with the power of God through the spiritual weapon of prayer.
Every day. Not just in times of great crisis.
Are you submitting your life and your family in prayer?
The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. – Psalm 145:18
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