Last week () I concluded, “So go ahead and ask me to pray, but don’t expect any miracle.” But there are some problems we face that will not be fixed without a miracle! Where can we go with things that seem insurmountable: loved ones who refuse to trust Jesus, church leaders who do not care if they deafen their attendees, friends with progressive illnesses for which there is no human cure; international issues over which we have no say?
Based on John 6:35-69, Jesus may have not been such a wonderful teacher as some surmise. Actually, He was the best teacher ever, but His discourse at this juncture did not win any trophies or marks for “Best Teacher of the Year” award. Instead of motivating His disciples to deepen their understanding of what it meant to follow Him, many of them grumbled and argued and turned away. It did not improve His case when He asked the Jewish followers, for whom cannibalism was anathema, to eat His flesh and drink His blood!
Then He asked the Twelve, His Apostles, “Do you want to go away as well?” Peter, always quick to spout off, answered for the group: “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” So to whom else can we go?
But when we pray, do we expect a miracle? When Ken prayed for Yolanda’s baby, wracked with meningitis, maybe some of us did, maybe some of us didn’t (see November 18, 2018). But the baby was well by the next day. When we prayed for my 45 year old sister-in-law to be healed from cancer, many shared a sense of faith that a miraculous healing was just waiting for us to see her. Then she died two days after we arrived.
When Hannah prayed for a child, she prayed for years, enduring the scorn of her neighbors and her husband’s second wife (See 1 Samuel 1). The high priest, Eli, not the most sensitive guy in the Old Testament, thought she was drunk as she was praying silently with tears. (Be glad he is not your worship pastor!) But Father spoke through this haphazard priest and he prophesied that her prayer would be answered with a resounding Yes from God.
How do we pray and not doubt as we are instructed in Matthew 21:21? We must pray with the same faith Hannah had, trusting that God will answer in His time with either a Yes, a No, or a Wait, even if our hearts are breaking as we wait.
The faith we have to exercise is the same as Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, better known by their Babylonian monikers, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego. Faced with certain doom from the king’s fiery furnace if they did not worship his statue, they answered his charges, “If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” (Daniel 3:17-18) Trust God without compromise.
So go ahead and ask me to pray. I am not holy or specially good that He has to listen to me. There is no magic connection or unusual power in my prayers. But if you want me to share your burdens, ask me to pray. I will just talk with The God Who Is Here, a constant Presence (See ) who keeps reminding me how inadequate and incompetent I am without Him.
And you can talk with Him, too. Anyone can (Acts 17:27). And you might experience a miracle.
John Peterson’s song has been on my mind a few days, but rather than offer one link to Youtube, here you will find four renditions, from acapella to reggae. Enjoy whichever one touches your heart.
It Took A Miracle By John W. Peterson
My Father is omnipotent,
On that you can rely;
A God of might and miracles,
‘Tis written in the sky;
It took a miracle to put the stars in place,
It took a miracle to hang the world in space,
But when He saved my soul,
Cleansed and made me whole,
It took a miracle of love and grace!
Tho’ here His glory has been shown,
We will not fully see;
The wonders of His might and throne,
The Bible tells us of His pow’r,
And wisdom all way through;
And ev’ry little bird and flow’r
Are testimonies, too.