Contend Earnestly: What Should I Pray For?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

What Should I Pray For?

The title of this post couldn't be more ambiguous. The question comes because I have been praying for my father through this latest bout of craziness. What I have found is that my brother, who is a charismatic, has been praying for my father's arthritis to be completely healed and done away with. It is quite odd...growing up in the Southern Baptist Convention, I am Reformed and my brother is

Anyways. My father has had both of the major kinds of arthritis: rheumatoid (where the body attacks itself and causes major bone loss) and osteoarthritis (this causes major trauma to the joints, causing constant pain). He has had arthritis since he was 15 years old and has had 16 major operations. He is going to be 54 next month, so that is a major surgery ever 2 and a half years. He has lived a very painful life, but if you ask him he is "fine". He never complains but believes that God has allowed this serious condition in his life to point him more to the glories and comfort of Jesus. Honestly, when he dies, it will be one of the best days of my life, because my father, who is the toughest man I know (even though he is 5'7 and a little hunched over), will feel no more pain and see the glories of Christ face to face. This sounds morbid, but if you had to see your dad in immense pain every day of his life, you would hopefully say the same thing. He loves Jesus, so I would see him again. Medically speaking, he is a walking miracle. There is no way he should be able to walk, be able to move his arms or go to work. Yet, every day this is what he does, without complaint. It is thorn in the flesh that God has given him to praise God even more.

I bring all this up to allow you, the reader, to better understand how serious his condition is. He has been told by many charismatics that if he just had enough faith that he would not have this disease. Honestly, if I saw these people, I would probably punch them in the face and ask if their face is hurting, then ask, "Where is your faith now?" I know that is a bad response, but I get sick of people trying to take away hope and faith that my dad has in Christ by pointing to his disease. I honestly want to tell those people to go to hell. But, that isn't godly either, so I don't.

I believe in our God. I believe he is all powerful, I believe that he controls all things in the palm of his hands. I believe that he is the great physician. But, I also know that he works within our natural laws for the most part. There are times of great signs and wonders which are unexplainable, and for that, this question comes.

What should I pray for in regards to my dad? I know that I should pray for God's will to be done for his glory, which is exactly the thrust of my whole prayer life. But, God also tells us to make our requests be known. What I pray for, in regards to my dad is simply the oppression of pain. I don't believe that his arthritis is all the sudden going to be gone. It would be the same if I was praying for a guy who lost his arm. I wouldn't pray that it would grow back, I would pray that he would be able to function without it.

The question comes, "Am I of little faith in regards to the prayers for my dad?" My charismatic brother is praying that my dad's arthritis to be gone and healed. I am not sure if there is a right answer here, but I feel either his prayer is ignorant, or mine is of little faith. Although, as long as he is not putting my dad's sickness in direct linkage to my dad's faith, I do greatly covet my brother's faith in this.

So, I ask for your comments and guidance on this. What are your thoughts on this? What would your prayers be for your parent if this is what they were going through every day of their life?

Is anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven him. Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

James 5:14-16


Anonymous said...

I thnk we should pray like Jesus in the garden..make our requests known but follow them with "nevertheless Your will be done"

Anonymous said...

I also believe we should make our request known to God... but ultimately God's will is going to be done and His name will be glorified whether your father get's healed or not. That does not mean that we have no faith... My questions is: what will happen if those people that are praying for complete healing don't get their request's answered? Will that affect them so much that they will doubt their faith? That's no way to live our Christian life. I think that God calls us to worship him through the good times and the bad times knowing and accepting that He has a greater purpose for the pain and suffering that we go through.

I forget where right now... I think it's in James where it says that we have to... "Consider it pure joy, whenever you face trials of many kinds...because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance and perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."

I am praying for you and your family and your father... may God's perfect will be done in His life...

Many blessings...


Anonymous said...

You're on the right railway line mate - don't veer off it. Some would see that calvinists have a Christian fatalism - no - God works with and without means, to His glory. Keep on praying - as you and your brother are doing. His will is perfect and you may or may not see God's purposes - but what He has purposed will come to fulfillment. What we all need, is to live in the knowledge of the great grace poured upon us all who call on His name, and generally on all men as God is gracious.

In this hour of need - His grace is sufficient.... Peace.

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