Monday, February 21, 2011

The Father's Prayer

We prayed in church yesterday.

Is that unusual? No, of course not! I like to think of our church as a praying church, in good times and in bad alike. We believe in the power of prayer, and fasting, and in prayer and fasting together. Our church is a Bible believing, Bible
teaching, and yes, Bible 'thumping' church, if you will!

But back to the prayer yesterday. We pray throughout our services, and on a regular basis. We allow the Holy Spirit to take over our church services, so that even the most well planned schedule is laid aside for God's purposes. When people are hurting, then they need to be ministered to. And we are more than ready to do that, in Jesus' name.

The prayer I am talking about is different. It is the heartfelt prayer of a father, whose child is very ill, and is in an incredible amount of pain. The doctor's have tried everything they know to do to help her, but it just seems to get worse. Let me give a brief overview of her history.

Katherine is eighteen. She is a senior in high school. She is full of life and love, excitement, and most of all, Jesus! But Katherine was born with spina bifida, and goes through life in her wheelchair. This does not hold her back. She attends church regularly, and is very involved with our youth group. She has even been on mission trips! She is a true joy. She always has a smile and a kind word for everyone she meets. She is a blue eyed, blonde haired angel living amongst us!

But Katherine has had problems with her shunt system for years. It is one of the health issues that comes with her condition. She has had 57 surgeries over the years. And for the past month or two, she has been in and out of the hospital, and has had several surgeries in that time alone. None have worked. None have relieved the headaches and vision loss. And the doctors are at a loss as to what to do next.

Katherine's family is a wonderful family. She has loving parents, a precious younger sister who is a real prayer warrior, and a new baby sister. The family works hard, plays hard, and prays hard. They make every moment count, for each other, for family and friends, and especially for God.

This past week has been the most difficult yet. Katherine has been in extreme
pain. Many families would be down and out, lost and defeated, but not this one.
They are still believing in God's power to heal their girl, despite the seriousness of the situation. They have given Katherine over to His hands, letting Him know
they are totally dependent on Him. And they continue to pray.

So, yesterday our music minister asked this father to step up and lead the congregation in prayer for Katherine. His wife was at the hospital with Katherine. And his heart was desperate...desperate for answers, for relief, for Godto touch his daughter and give her rest from all she is suffering from.

He stepped up, took the microphone, and began. He began by describing their situation, their pain, their heartbreak, and their helplessness. He prayed for
his wife, for her weariness, her strength,and for all his children. Then he
prayed for the doctors, that if nothing else, they will come to know Jesus
through their experience with his family. He prayed for wisdom and peace for
all of them. And he prayed for God's glory. Yes, he made sure that He told God how much he trusted Him. He told God how much he wanted His will to be done. He thanked God for all the mercies and blessings and favor and grace that He has bestowed on he and his family all these many years. He thanked Him for saving him, when he was on the road to hell.

One man, sharing his heart with one God. The only God. The God of the Ages.
The God of love, compassion, and healing. A man broken and hurting, watching
his child suffer and not being able to do anything to change it. Yet he did do
that one thing...he went to the One who is able to do the impossible. And he took all of us with him, to the Throne of Grace and Mercy.

I could have used three boxes of Kleenex. I could not speak, I could hardly breathe. The emotion was raw, but good. It was heartbreaking, yet it was uplifting. It was 'the worst of times, and the best of times'. And most of all, it was real.

We all prayed with this father. We are all praying even now. Praying that God
will reveal the problems with the shunt, and what should be done to correct it. Praying that Katherine will recover soon and the family can go home and be
together, and go to church again, all of them. Praying that Katherine can get
back to school and graduate with her class. Praying for their lives to return
to their 'normal', which I imagine would feel like Heaven right about now.

This father's prayer, straight from his heart to the heart of God, brings to mind this scripture from John 14:13-14: Jesus said, "I will do whatever you ask in My name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask me for anything in My name, and I will do it."

This dad is a son of God, so in praying to the Father the way he did, he was being like Jesus, in that he was bringing glory to the Father, giving Him praise and thanks. The Father's Prayer...truly a gift to God from one of His own.


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