Monday, September 10, 2012

Impossible Prayers

Some days just stretch out before us with hard and impossible things.

It was a day like that. A day with dark clouds and driving ice-rain.

I sat numb and alone in the back seat of the hearse staring blankly out the window.

As the driver turned into the cemetery I saw the words for the first time.

"More things are wrought by prayer than the world dreams of.” 

In the weeks and years to come, I would pass this sign many times. It would be a decade before I sought to find the source of them. I actually thought it was a Bible verse. To my embarrassment, it is a quote by  Alfred Lord Tennyson. 

That’s how much I knew about prayer.

The hard white stone was like my heart and prayer was just memorized words almost chanted. Mindless word ramblings that made me yawn. These etched words were curious to me. How could prayer have the power that would bring about more things than the world could dream? Especially in my world.

Eventually, I began having conversations with God. Nothing fancy. I had problems with no answers. That's where I started. Isn’t that how it is? We are just going along in life and suddenly collide with the unexpected, unplanned and unwanted. Something happens that we just cannot fix in our strength.

That is often the path to the Father who longs to hear us pray.

Some years ago a close friend was diagnosed with stage four cancer. On her long drive home from receiving the news she called and asked me to pray with her. 

Oh, I wanted to be that friend who could pray prayers that would move mountains and mulberry trees. In reality, fear ran like a lightning bolt through me. Just the word cancer is enough to strike terror in a heart.

Her doctors had test results and pictures and proof. The prognosis was a few weeks to live.  This was no time for casual comments like  "I'm thinking and praying for you friend." 

I get that. I've said that.

We cried together. There were sounds that only God could interpret.  Then I stumbled around looking for words to speak on her behalf as she stared out the car window numb from the news.

The next morning in my personal time with the Lord I cried out for wisdom. The prayer that fell from my heart was for scripture that I could claim as I prayed for her. That morning my pages opened to 2 Samuel 12. The part of the story that struck me was about David the king who was praying for his son who is sick and ends up dying.

Not quite the word I was hoping for.

Reading on to the part after his son dies David tells his servants that "he prayed and fasted while the son was alive, because ‘Who knows? The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live.' "

The prayer flame was lit. Yes. I could pray like that.

Pray until I saw no more need to pray. Earnestly I began asking for her healing.

Praying boldly, because "who knows.. the Lord may be gracious and let her live ..."  My reasoning was that if she would lose the battle with her cancer that's when I could stop praying for her. There were countless others who prayed unwaveringly for this sweet woman. The issue of unbelief and doubt needed to be settled in my heart. Not just for her but in many areas of my life. 

This was a season of learning to trust that I could ask and with confidence know that God hears.

The outcome is still up to Him.

There is a great multitude of people that need some "..who knows.." kind of prayers, yes?

Over two years later I am still praying for that friend. She has outlived every prediction. One surgeon told her, " are a walking talking miracle." 

There are few things that get me more excited than stories of people who pray in humble faith.

Stories of people courageous enough to ask for the impossible! 

Testimonies of how The Father of miracles showed up because someone dared to knock on the door and ask.

You do not have because 
you do not ask.

James 4:2 ESV

I like to challenge myself to keep an impossible prayer list. 

It's not hard to think of things that seem like they could never be any different than they are today.

That marriage. That child. Those finances, health concern, or strained family relationship.

The impossible thing.

The thing that needs the power of God.

In faith, we can at least  - -ask. 

Would you be brave enough to print this card and make your own Impossible Prayer List?
  • Pray, an honest prayer.
  • Lay each request humbly before the One Enthroned.
  • Believe that He hears you and that He is able to answer.
  • Thank Him in advance  - -before the waters are parted.
  • Rest in the peace that comes from handing the burden over.   
I'm praying for some  "who knows..." 
      -- kind of prayers with answers in your life. 


Karen Todd said...

Wow, Rhonda, you probably don't remember me, but I met you at a Pampered Chef party that my daughter hosted at Laurie's house. I used to be a Colvin, so I knew Dan. Anyway, I just wanted to tell you that this blog touched my heart. God does answer impossible prayers, and I will keep praying them. Thanks for the great thoughts! May God bless you richly! Karen Todd

CynthiaJSwenson said...

I'm praying for something impossible! Thanks Rhonda, as you've encouraged my heart! Love & prayers, in Jesus, Cynthia

KarenO said...

Rhonda thank you for sharing your thoughts and words. You are so encouraging for prayers. I am praying so hard for a situation and sometimes I am disappointed in not receiving an answer or having to wait for the answer. I have placed everything into God's hands and I believe that he will give me the answer that is best for us. Thank you for your heart sharing words of encouragement. Karen O'Connor

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