This morning, Mrs. Sweetie and I talked about prayer.
Prayer has been central to our lives for many years, but there has been an intensifying of prayers for the past few days. Our daughter and son-in-law are on an extended visit to friends/ministry partners in the Punjab region of India. They had been there about six days when they got some sort of stomach ailment and spent several days being really sick.
On day three, they spent 10 hours in the local clinic hooked up to IV fluids and receiving injections for nausea and other related ailments. As of the time of this writing (day five), it seems that they have just about turned the corner and are feeling much better.
When your kids are sick and are over 10,000 miles from home, you realize that prayer is just about all you have. Oh, we have passports and could hop on a plane and spend two days and tens of thousands of dollars to get to where they are.
Once there, we could … uh … pray.
The good news is that they are not over 10,000 miles away from God, and He loves them even more than we do.
The bad news is that sometimes we don’t know how to pray. We beg God to keep them safe and make them well. We ask Him to be glorified in their circumstances. We tell Him we are scared and helpless.
Our No. 2 child, the newlywed, has us praying, too. He is filling in this week in three performances of the musical drama TEXAS in Palo Duro Canyon.
He is not in the cast for the entire season. They have hired him to play one of the leading roles (Colonel Henry, for those of you who are familiar with the show), while the regular actor takes a short vacation. These three performances will be his only opportunity, and there is rain in the forecast.
The drought-stricken Texas Panhandle is desperately in need of rain, but I want my boy to get to have this opportunity. Mrs. Sweetie laughed when I actually prayed out loud and said, “God, I can’t bring myself to pray that it won’t rain, but I’d sure appreciate it if he could get these shows in.”
A few years back, I enjoyed a series of novels by Jan Karon. The Mitford series chronicled the adventures of Father Tim, an Episcopal priest in a small North Carolina town. Father Tim seemed to always find himself involved with people in desperate circumstances. Many times he would advise them to pray “the prayer that never fails.”
What is that prayer? “Thy will be done.”
If Jesus Himself could pray that prayer (Matthew 6:10, Matthew 26:42, Mark 14:36, Luke 11:2, Luke 22:42) then I’m thinking it may be a great way for me to tell the One for whom my life matters most that I trust Him completely.
Can you pray the prayer that never fails?
Dr. Gerry Lewis, author, blogger, church consultant and leadership coach, serves as executive director of the Harvest Baptist Association headquartered in Decatur.