Abraham spoke again:
“See how I am presuming to speak to my Lord,
though I am but dust and ashes.”
Someone recently asked me to pray for him. As soon as we parted company, I offered the first of my petitions on his behalf. Afterward, I made a mental note to add him to the list of those for whom I have promised to pray or should be praying. I hoped that my effort on this person’s behalf would do some good.
A poignant memory comes to mind whenever I am tempted to question the power of prayer…
It was more than two decades ago that I stood at my step-father’s bedside with an aching heart. Emphysema had transformed the muscular carpenter I once knew into a shadow of his former self. I prayed and asked the God of Abraham to watch with me a while. Like Abraham, as soon as I had God’s attention, I began to negotiate. First, I asked for relief for my dad’s difficult breathing. “Take away his anxiousness over each breath,” I begged. When I felt assured of that much, I went on. I requested strength for my mom and the rest of us to remain present to him for as long as needed. I knew God was listening as always, and so I continued. This time I set limits on the “as long as needed” part. “If he was my son, I would have him home by Easter!” I challenged God to hear and to respond to my prayer just as Abraham did. A week later, we walked with my step-dad through his passing.
A week after that, I apologized to God for my insolent and demanding prayer. I also thanked God for taking my father home for Easter. In spite of my tears, I smiled and promised to pray with the conviction of Abraham many more times before God and I meet face to face. You see, if I cannot turn to God, I have no place to turn, and nor do you. Whether life is good or difficult at the moment, talk to God with the faith of Abraham because God always listens.
Thank you, good and gracious God, for listening.
©2014 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved