Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Prayer (no answers, please)

It's been 11 months since Edmund was born and 10 months since we got to bring him home from the NICU.  Sometimes I cannot believe everything we went through and managed.  Crisis was not fun but the Lord gave us grace and strength to get through.  Heidi and I have been working on our Christmas letter, which is what brought all this back to my mind ... Unfortunately I'm a crisis pray-er.  I remember praying for Edmund every day; basically ever hour.  At times I remember trying to bargin with God or begging Him to let Edmund live. 
I don't remember when I broke but I remember that my conversations with God were shorter; more concise.  I remember just saying "help. Please help."  or "Do what needs to be done; either way."  or "I need to know You're here."  I don't know why I kept saying the same thing over and over again; I guess it was all I could get out.  I don't know if our prayers changed God's mind or if it was apart of the plan from the beginning.  I don't know.
So I was thinking - God is God, right?  Maybe prayer is more about me humbling myself to come communicate with Him rather than trying to get Him to change His mind about plans or something.  Jesus mentioned that we should ask for God's will to be done ... He didn't say much about what I wanted...  (I know there are stories about people petitioning God so you can relax about my theology.) What made me think of one of the paradoxes or mysteries of being a follower of Christ.  Just this weekend a woman heard our story of Edmund's birth and started telling me I should share our story to encourage others to pray.  I asked myself, "would she have told me the same thing if Edmund had died? Wouldn't prayer still be just as important or valid?"  I'd like to think that I really believed what I was praying about God's will; that He would do what needed to be done, either way.  What about all of the other babies in the NICU that were prayed over several times that didn't make it or have life long complications - was that an answer to prayer? 
This may be one of those 'mysteries' of God that doesn't have an explanation, theological position or basis in Scripture.  It seems almost foolish to limit God's workings based on a few mentions in the Scripture (not that those verses aren't true).  I try very hard now not to call the shots or tell God what He can or cannot do based on my very limited and screwed up understanding of Him.  I want to laugh when people say things like "God does or doesn't do that ..."  We may have strong evidence in the Scriptures about His character but I pretty much believe He calls the shots, either way.
I hope to become more than a crisis pray-er as I grow more in Christ.  I hope to have faith that God hears my prayers, understands them but ultimately accomplishes His will... either way.


Stephanie B said...

Bravo. God will accomplish His purposes... either way. Love you all.

Metanoia said...

Good thoughts, friend. I don't know what I think about prayer anymore, except that I ought to be doing it more often! - Brock