Monday, January 24, 2011

Old Ladies Who Pray

A couple weeks ago, in a setting which is not important, I heard someone say "G-d listens to old ladies who pray".  After some good natured teasing (I had a birthday coming up, so somehow I was perceived as "old"), I stopped to think about it some more.  It had been said in jest, but maybe there was some truth in it.  G-d  does listen to old ladies who pray. Think about some of the old ladies in your life and some of the prayers that they have been prayed that have been answered.  If your experience bears any similarity to mine, you will find that the prayers of old ladies are answered. What is it about old ladies that causes G-d to answer their prayers? 
Is it just because they are old and G-d listens to them out of respect for the years they have served Him, the time they have put in on this broken earth or is there something more to it?  Perhaps it is because our grandmothers grew up believing that G-d would answer their prayers.  Our faith has become watered down.  
When we pray we are fond of saying "If it be your will…."  I'm not sure this actually appears in the Bible, though there is likely a similar concept that has been pulled out of context (and I could be completely wrong on this). I mean, it's good to let G-d have His way, but if it was just about G-d having His way, there would be no purpose to our praying.  Check out these verse from Matthew 18: 18-20:

 "Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them."

Go ahead and read it again.  This isn't suggesting an "if it be your will let Grandpa get better" kind of prayer, but a kind of prayer that claims healing, a prayer that acknowledges the power that we have as believes.  "whatever we bind on hear will be bound in heaven".  What would happen if G-d's people really started praying in faith?  What kind of radical changes would our world see?  
Over the summer a dear friend of mine sent me a magazine article called "Diagnosis Cancelled".  It appears to have come from a magazine called "Gospel Truth", from the spring and summer 2010 edition.  Anyhow, the article tells of a husband and wife who discover that they are pregnant with an infant that, according to the ultrasound, has severe Down Syndrome and might not even survive being born due to deformities of his heart.  The parents refuse to accept this diagnosis.  This wasn't a case of denial, but a case of claiming the power they knew they had.  They refused to accept that their child had Down's.  The prayed and prayed and prayed, cancelling the diagnosis, refusing to let Satan poison them with doubt that their baby would not be healed.  Well, they went back for another ultrasound a time later and the ultrasound was clear.  The doctor didn't understand.  When the precious little one was born he was perfect.  There is a bit more to the story, but that's the gist of it.  They prayed in faith, the cancelled the diagnosis on earth and it was cancelled in heaven.  
Yes, sometimes G-d has plans that are beyond what we can comprehend.  Sometimes we pray earnestly for things and G-d choses to answer with a "no" instead of the "yes we had hoped for.  It's important to remember that He is still G-d and He is still sovereign, but that doesn't make us puppets.  If we truly seek the will of G-d and pray in faith, He will grant us the desires of our hearts (Ps. 37:4, James 5:13-20, esp 16b-18).
What would happen if G-d's people prayed in faith?  Casting Crowns sings: 
"What if the Church, for heaven's sake
Finally stepped up to the plate
Took a stand upon God's promise
And stormed hell's rusty gates"

What if? What if? What if?
And since I started this off with old ladies who pray, here is a song to finish it off, about a praying Grandma: Smooth Grandmama. (The video isn't captioned.  Here is a link to the lyrics)

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