Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Power of Prayer

Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. Elijah was a man with a nature like ours, and he prayed earnestly that it would not rain; and it did not rain on the land for three years and six months. And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth produced its fruit. Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins. --James 5:13-20

When I was a teenager, there was an old woman who attended the church that I attended. While I can not tell you her exact age at the time, I would guess her around 75 years old. She was one of the most godly people I knew.

As the story goes, around that time, she was diagnosed with cancer. Her doctors gave her a few months to live. The church was heart broken. I remember my typical anger with God for allowing this to happen to some one who "didn't deserve it."

I remember one Sunday, she stood before us to speak. We waited with baited breath. What could this woman say? What could an old woman with cancer possibly say? What she did say absolutely floored me. She said that she had lived a good life and that she owed it all to God. She told us that if it be God's will that her life be taken by cancer, that was fine. If it was God's will that she live another 5 years, that was fine as well. If it was God's will that she be healed completely, that was also fine by her. Her only prayer was that God's will be done in her life.

Another Sunday, she was brought before the entire church. We gathered near the alter and placed hands on her. The Pastor prayed that if it be in God's will, that He would remove her cancer.

One month later, her body was completely cancer free.

"Prayer is not getting man's will done in heaven, but getting God's will done on earth. It is not overcoming God's reluctance but laying hold of God's willingness."