When I was twelve years old, horrible stomach pain plagued me for nearly a week. My parents began to express concern and took me to the hospital. The doctors in the emergency room ran some tests to confirm I had appendicitis. Within the hour I would be receiving emergency surgery. I was terrified. I rarely had to go to the doctor as a child, but never to the hospital since birth and now suddenly I was going to be knocked out and cut open! I recall having a calm numbness about the situation, like everything was happening in slow motion and soon I would wake up from a dream. Unfortunately, it was all very real. I had so much inflammation you could see my appendix bulging from my side with only a glance.
My mom contacted her parents, my grandparents, and come to find out at that exact moment, my grandma and grandpa were at the local prison leading a bible study. They along with all the inmates in attendance, stopped their lesson and spent time in prayer over my health. My parents stayed near my side and also prayed continually for the next thirty minutes while doctors waited for the operating room to be cleared and ready. My doctor returned and asked how I was feeling and oddly commented about the inflammation site looking less inflamed. He ordered another quick scan of the area to reaffirm what he had already determined a short time ago. He left the room while a nurse scanned my stomach. A few minutes after the nurse left, the doctor returned looking completely baffled. He looked at my parents and I with bewilderment in his voice and said, “I do not have a medical explanation for this, but Lindsey is fine. When you brought her in, her appendix was so inflamed it was near the point of rupturing and now…the inflammation is completely gone. She has no need for surgery and you all are free to go home.” We all looked at each other speechless. It was truly a miracle. God answered our prayers.
I could tell you story after story of person or situation I know of, who have witnessed first-hand the power of prayer played out in their life. For some reason that day, God decided to heal me quickly, as to not need surgery. God just as easily could have used surgery for His glory too. I cannot pretend to understand what He did that day for me, when others have died from the same ailment. God hears every prayer and when you have faith in the words you give Him, He does listen.
1 John 5:14, “And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us.”
James 5:13-14, “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise. Is anyone among you sick. Let him call the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.”
Scripture also says in Mark 11:24,
“Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.”
When you pray, God will answer in one of three ways, “yes,” “no,” or “wait.” He does not love you any less when He says no. His goal for us as His children is to faithfully trust Him with our desires and be willing to accept His answer, whatever that may be. Let’s take a look at an example of each.
When God says, “Yes.”
In the first chapter of 1 Samuel, we are introduced to Elkanah. He has two wives: Peninnah and Hannah. Peninnah has children and Hannah has not been able to bear children. Hannah obviously had a hard time with this and her lack of children was a steady burden to her soul, for she deeply desired them. Every year Hannah would travel with her family to the temple. The year recorded in 1 Samuel 1-19 speaks of Hannah praying in the sight of the priest, Eli. Eli thought she was drunk and when Hannah explained to him she was pouring her heart out to God, Eli says in verse 17, “Go in peace, and the God of Israel grant your petition that you have made to him.” The next day she and her family returned home and she spent time with her husband, conceived and gave birth to a son.
When God says, “No.”
Our next example is of God saying “no” to His own son, Jesus. In Matthew 26, the timeline of the plot to kill Jesus, His betrayal and arrest goes by quickly. Jesus knows what is to come and how He must suffer and die on the cross for us. Even so, as He spends time in the garden of Gethsemane, in verse Matthew 26:39 it says, “And going a little farther He fell on His face and prayed, saying, ‘My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me, nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.’” Of course we know God does not remove His Son from the garden to escape death, burial and resurrection. The key is when He says, “not as I will, but as You will.” In times when God clearly says “no” to something we desire to be different, if we can maintain the attitude of trusting He knows best for us, then in the end all will turn out right, just as it did through Jesus’ death.
When God says, “Wait.”
In Genesis 12-15, Abraham, a righteous man, is called by God in obedience to serve. Abraham who is already older in age, is told by God his wife Sarah will have a child. Abraham at various times becomes exceedingly impatient waiting on God. He even has relations with his servant Hagar and she bears a son. Still, God tells him to wait on the promised descendant He desires to give him. In total, Abraham and Sarah wait fifteen years for the promise to be fulfilled and their son Issac to be born. Even through his disobedience, God still kept His promise.
God’s timing can be frustrating to wait on, especially when He does not give us what we want. Prayer is powerful even when the hoped for outcome is not received. God does listen, but God also knows what He is doing. Keep praying, power will be evident. He is sovereign and His will is best. He created you, trust Him to have guidance over your path. Put on the attitude of Jesus, “not my will but yours.”