February!…Yeeeey!!!…Birthday month…’the love month’…Indeed!
I always approach Feb with alot of energy and enthusiasm, not only because of the above mentioned,but because I get to open a new chapter of my life!…I find February very significant to both my short and long-term goals…but Feb 2017,was no ordinary Chapter-opening month…A part of my spiritual life was put through the fire…
On Monday,the 30th of January 2017,as I am just about to go run errands,my aunt calls and informs mom that her brother(my uncle)collapsed in church and has been rushed to hospital, this followed after a text was received from him on the 28th of Jan 2017,requesting for prayer,which we did as a family,our hands held in agreement requesting God to show up in that situation.In a very very long time,I saw mom cry…to tell you the truth, I broke inside but had to be strong for her…I had to assure her of Gods’ presence in this.At this point in time we were going through many question-provoking situations,the pain was too much…salt was added to an injury.
On the 6th of February, we receive news as a congregation that a congregants’ child has been hospitalised and on life support. As a body of Christ,we are always admonished to look out for our fellow believers. We decided to go visit ‘Baby Alex’;my mom and I.
I don’t like the hospital environment,it sends a certain fear in me that is quite strange and eery. I am ‘hospital phobic’ scientifically known as nosocomephobia…but a call to Ministry goes against fear.
The silence in there was too loud,apart from a few scattered coughs.As we approached the pediatric Ward,I tapped mom and told her,“I can hear my heart beating ” she looked at me holding the door knob and smiled.I almost turned back, but it was too late.
The sight of three year old Baby Alex was enough to steer a complaining and bitter attitude towards God… It was enough to hold a fist towards God in anger, and confidently shout, “I am done with this prayer business!”
The Irony came about when I looked at the child’s mom.She was so composed and all smiles… I could not fathom her strength in such a situation…Picture this,two good years of being around an active child,who is now lying lifelessly and on life support…yet she could afford a smile.
“Father,in the name of Jesus…” my mom abruptly begins to pray,interrupting my train of thought and remember at this point her brother is admitted in hospital…Standing beside her,eyes closed,tears rolling down my cheeks and nodding in agreement.Mom was praying for a situation,she was going through herself…they both needed prayers by all standards!… I admire her faith!
At this point I don’t think I had any faith in the fact that God would revive the dear soul. In any case we prayed for Uncle but he still collapsed,had to go through an emergency surgery and was admitted! I was ‘riding on moms’ faith as well as Alexs’ moms’ faith’
“…Amen…Alex shall get well,” assured my mom,looking at his mom.I look at Alex on life support,how the doctor is pumping him like a blocked kitchen sink and I try to relate mom’s words and all I feel inside is confusion…
A week later,we receive news that the doctors wanted to refer him to Kenyatta National Hospital because, “we do not want him to die in our hands”… My goodness, how discouraging!… We kept praying despite the negative news.I can boldly confess that at this point,my ‘prayer life gauge’ was blinking red and reading a miserable 2 out of 10…I felt God was ‘playing a trick’ on us,bearing in mind the fact that Doctors have been on strike since last year! They were indirectly serving Baby Alex a death sentence.
Believe it or not,the next visit we paid Baby Alex was totally different from the first.This time round we went to celebrate with the family.He was out of the ICU breathing on his own and looking so cute responding to movements.The lifeless situation was turned around for the glory of God.Was he transferred?…Ah ah,he suddenly responded to medication!… Wa!…While at it,my uncle was discharged and is recovering wonderfully well!
Jesus did answer our prayers, though not immediately but the bottom line is He answered our desperate prayers. In my faithlessness,He remained faithful.I can bet my last coin…PRAYER WORKS.My complacency in prayer has now been replaced by belief and fervency.He had a plan this month for that aspect of my spiritual life!
Before I sign out,let me share a few lessons I learnt about prayer:
- Prayer is done to bring glory to God.While we pray,God is glorified.It is about Him all the way!This is backed up in the book of John 15:7,8…“If you remain in me and my words remain in you ask whatever you wish and it will be given you. This is to my Fathers’ glory that you bear much fruit showing yourselves to be my disciples.”
The two situations ended in the glory of God.He proved His power over death and sickness,just like the days of old! Indeed He is the same yesterday,today and forever. I remember praying day and night for dad to get well but instead his health deteriorated and he eventually passed on.Does it mean that God loves Baby Alex and my Uncle more than dad?…No,because, God does not show favouritism.It just means that He is Sovereign.The loss too was for His glory and from where I stand now,I understand why it happened the way it did.In any case,dad is at peace now and in a better place…Hallelujah!!!
- “The function of prayer is not to influence God,but rather to change the nature of the one who prays” Soren Kierkegaard accurately describes my second lesson. Prayer is not synonymous to arm-twisting God.Remember it is about Him.
I had my faith boosted and my prayer life refuelled. I believe many who witnessed what God can do through prayer including the doctors,were impacted in one way or another.Anyone who doubted the existence of God,believed in His existence.Like the gospel artist Ephraim Sekeleti,I can boldly,unapologetically say that He is a God who does not sleep.The Psalmist said this too!…Glory to God!
- Thanksgiving,thanksgiving,thanksgiving.Two feet,strong bones,a functioning heart…what more can we say but “Thank you Jesus!” Kahlil Gibran once quoted, “You pray in your distress and in your need;would,that you might pray also in the fullness of your joy and in your days of abundance”
Dick Eastman in his book writes, “Thanksgiving helps us to focus on God’s faithfulness” Jesus Himself, even in the face of adversity thanked God,for example in Lazarus case in John 11:41 he says, “Father,I thank you that you have heard me…” Paul on the other hand,admonishes us to, “Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus” in 1 Thessalonians 5:18.Thanksgiving is like telling God, “I submit to your faithfulness in my faithlessness,your strength in my weakness” I came across an encounter by John Wesley in a book I have been reading,where the writer quotes John’s journal,where he wrote, “It was because of this attitude(thanksgiving) that I was able to break only my arm in an accident and not my head”… Powerful!
- The last but not the least lesson I learnt during this season is the art of listening.
I stumbled upon an awakening quote by an anonymous author,that states,“Prayer is the souls’ pilgrimage from self to God and the most effectual remedy for self-love and self-absorption is the habit of humble listening” Did Jesus listen?… Yes he did…Look at the story of Nicodemus in John 3:1-21…Jesus patiently listens to him and Nicodemus on the other hand pays keen attention to Jesus’ words and the result?…Great!!! He becomes an avid follower of Jesus!On the other hand,Peter in his advice to husbands and wives emphasizes this when he says, “…Instead,it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit which is of great worth in God’s sight” (1 Peter 3:4) In the eye of a storm,it is haaaaaard to listen,but why not stand still and know that it is God?…J.R Miller rubber-stamps this when he says, “Quietness in a man or woman is a mark of strength. Noise is not eloquence,loudness not power. In all the departments of life,it is the quiet forces that effect most.Therefore, if we would be strong, we must learn to be quiet.A quiet heart will give a quiet life.”
Does prayer work?…I can confidently say yes it does! A situation that did not turn around as expected only confirms the fact that,God is Sovereign.Charles Spurgeon once quoted, “Prayer is the slender nerve that moveth the muscles of omnipotence”
The new chapter in my life was opened, not just physically but spiritually as well.The month where my prayer life encountered a paradigm shift.
I conclude with my favourite quote on prayer by Dr Walter Judd,a missionary to China who said,
“I can’t explain how some of the food I ate tonight for supper becomes brain, some blood,some bone,but I haven’t stopped eating just because I can’t explain this.It is not in the realm of explanation yet or of logical proof.It is in the realm of demonstration;Prayer works.”
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