Thursday, October 18, 2012

Answer to Prayer

Fervent prayer is not always sufficient to release the answer we desire. So here is a photo of the person I've prayed for and also with, more than any other. Jane. And a picture of health she looked, eating an organic cereal bar on a delightful country walk, also my favourite environment for prayer. Although only 9 months before she passed on, she was actually extremely fit and very healthy… apart from the secondary cancer that was stubbornly filling her lungs. So I prayed a lot for her to be healed. And so did she; alongside countless others across the world. She was well loved by many. A woman of great faith, enough to reach to God for a miracle of healing when Doctors simply pronounced a death sentence; so a few years ago, we were in Florida, just returned from a wonderful Church meeting and she wandered off in the scorching heat across the hotel car park, to make a phone call back home. She needed to make a faith confession, that the Lord had healed her after prayer. And he had. Yes a real undeniable miracle. Just not the one we were looking for… the cancer remained; degeneration of her hips, unsuccessfully treated with hospital physiotherapy was instantaneously healed and normal mobility restored. She could walk through the countryside again without serious discomfort. But she was still a cancer patient. So we prayed some more, right up until she died. And then the Lord told me to let her go; when all I wanted to do was pray for my long suffering wife to be raised from the dead, and be restored to life and health… and me. My final blessing to her unconscious and massively drugged body was a simple ‘bon-voyage’. I knew it was her time. Time for her to be completely healed in the presence of the Lord, as she entered eternity. And I was so very grateful for that understanding.

Yes, for me that is often the missing ingredient in prayer. Understanding. I believe that God hears every prayer and without exception responds, as only God can. Sometimes his answer is no, at least not at this time, perhaps due to wrong motives or sin. At other times he has a higher purpose than short term blessing. Like with Jane. But there are times when the Lord answers the prayer of faith exactly as we ask and exactly as we would hope. Those are special times, not just because of the answer, but because we can know that we are close to God, praying according to his will and purpose for our lives. And that is the key to successful prayer. Ok, patience is often necessary as well. I want what I want, and I want it now! But the Lord’s timing is perfect. Always. Some years ago I became too ill to work and the first year was fine as my employers continued to partially pay my salary. Savings dwindled and 27 months down the line my income stream nowhere near approached our outgoings. Our two car lifestyle reduced to one, amongst many other savings, and the time approached when a hard decision would be needed on that. So no transport to church, shopping and all the rest of it loomed large. And I have never ever been in debt; my budget always balances. So we prayed. Four days before I would take my car off the road a letter came through the post. My long appealed application for ill health retirement and pension was granted. I finished work at age 47 and that was a real miracle of financial provision. And financially perfect timing. Not so much with my nerves though!

Matthew 7:7 ‘Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.’ (NLT)

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