POWER OF PRAYER
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Romans 12:12
When I was asked, “What is something that surprised you about chronic illness?” my mind was overloaded with thoughts.
There are so many things that have surprised me in my journey as a “heart mom.” I thought of all the unforeseen things I’ve experienced, all the relationships and unexpected connections I’ve made. I thought about how differently I look at life, how thankful I am for every little blessing, and how I’ve seen joy in the eyes of my daughter amidst her struggles. However, as I look back at my life today and think of my experiences, I’m most surprised at the powerful gift prayer has been. Some describe prayer as a conversation with God, but I believe it’s much more.
PRAYER IS A POWERFUL GIFT
Prayer is not a new concept for me. As a child, I remember praying nightly for my dad and younger brother who were diagnosed with a genetic neuromuscular disease. Growing up, I witnessed the effects of the disease on my brother. I wanted to help him, to take away the difficulties, to do something — so I prayed. I prayed that God would take away his disease, or that God would let me switch places with him — and I prayed for a cure. It was during this time that I started to understand prayer was more than a conversation. Prayer had purpose. It was a gift and a tool, and it was powerful. Little did I know how powerful this gift would continue to be.
A BROKEN HEART
When I first heard the words, “Your baby’s heart is not normal,” my world was turned upside down. I was scared, angry, and confused. I questioned God. How could He allow this innocent, unborn baby to be brought into this world to suffer through repeated surgeries, procedures, and pain?
Why would He give her this journey?
My heart was broken, but I prayed. I prayed for the comfort and safety of this little person inside me. I prayed He would give me the strength to give her what she needed. Then I prayed that whatever God’s plan was (and however much time He was going to let us share with her), He would always be at my daughter’s side. I knew I had to trust God, and even though I did not understand, this was the path He had chosen for her. I was no longer in control.
No, I had never been in control.
The more I prayed, the more I was able to see. I saw more than the diagnosis of a congenital heart defect; now I also saw the support system surrounding me – family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. I saw the outpouring of supportive messages from people, including those I had never met. There were friends dropping off meals and offering to help in any way they could. I saw strangers adding our daughter to prayer lists. I saw our church (and a larger community) praying for our baby. Yes, I saw generosity, compassion, and most importantly, the power of prayer.
PRAYER BRINGS HOPE
Prayer did more than help me to see, it also helped me to feel. Slowly the shock, denial, anger, and depression turned into comfort and acceptance. The paralyzing fear dissipated and a positive attitude emerged. I started to feel confident and strong. I felt HOPE.
Because of prayer, I no longer felt helpless, but instead, I felt ready. I was ready for our daughter to enter this world, because I knew whatever the outcome, I was not alone.
Thank you for the privilege of prayer. Chronic illness can overwhelm us at times. We might feel angry, hurt, confused. Help us to pour out our hearts to you in prayer. You love us more than we realize, and You always know what is best. When we are weak, you give us strength and provide for our needs in ways we might never expect. Thank you for the peace and hope you give when we trust in you.
In the precious name of Jesus,
Prayer is very important to us at Chronic Joy. If you have a prayer request, you’re invited to share your prayer requests in a judgment-free zone. Join us at our Prayer Pond page to share your request. We would love to pray for you!
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION
- Have you ever been surprised by prayer influencing you in unexpected ways?
- Can you remember a time(s) when you understood and/or appreciated the power of prayer anew? What was the situation?
- Has prayer opened your eyes and heart to hope (even in a hard time)? Can you share that news with someone?
"Whether we realize it or not, prayer is the encounter of God's thirst with ours. God thirsts that we may thirst for him." St. Augustine