What does prayer do? The sovereign and omniscient God knows what we need before we ask Him. “Even before a word is on my tongue, behold, O LORD, you know it altogether” (Psalm 139:4). So why pray?
Earlier this month, I received an email requesting prayer for someone, who was soon to undergo major surgery. A number of emails were going back and forth with updates on her condition, what doctors were saying, and when they would schedule the surgery. One of the emails contained the date and time that the procedure was to take place. I kept this in mind, with the intention of praying at the exact time that the doctors were going to perform the surgery. One night, when I opened my inbox, it was flooded with several emails. “Praise The Lord!” “He answered our prayers.” “She’s doing well in the recovery room.” Wait a minute, I thought. Did they change the time of the surgery? Or, did I forget to pray?
I looked through my old emails and found the one that contained the time of the surgery. They didn’t change it. But, what I failed to realize was that this operation took place in a different country, in a completely different time zone. I felt stupid for my careless oversight. As I read through all the emails from those who were praising God for this answer to prayer, I felt a bit left out. Don’t get me wrong. I was rejoicing in The Lord too. But, there is a certain level of excited praise that happens after being part of the intercession that occurred prior to that worshipful response.
“You also must help us by prayer, so that many will give thanks on our behalf for the blessing granted us through the prayers of many.” (2 Corinthians 1:11)
Has something like this ever happened to you? Have you ever told someone you would pray for them and forgot? And, when they told you later how God demonstrated His faithfulness, you felt ashamed of your faithlessness in prayer.
Yes, God knows before we even ask. And no, He doesn’t need us to do what He wills. But, according to His kindness, He has chosen to work through the prayers of His people. Don’t think of prayer as a chore you have to do. Rather it is a mission we get to partake in. What an awesome and humbling privilege He has bestowed on us!
“The utterly amazing thing is that [God] has ordained to include us in running the universe. He really does respond to our prayers. They are woven into the fabric of causes that God wills to be moved by.” ~ John Piper
(Photo credit: S. Reachers)