Sometimes, we pray and we fast, and we don’t see any fruit of our labor. It seems, at times, our prayer is having the reverse effect and things get worse. Maybe you have experienced it? You are praying for a special intention only to find your prayer goes unanswered and your hopes dashed. So it seemed for me last week, as I prayed for a woman scheduled for an abortion, hoping that her heart would be open to other possibilities. Her post is open ended. I may never know if, in the end, she changed her mind.
This is a lesson for all of us who offer our prayers and sacrifices for others. It is the mystery of intercessory prayer, where we tangible human beings touch the spiritual world of the unseen. We offer our prayers into that realm, and it usually appears to be a one-way conversation, like talking into a void where we wait hoping for a response…’hello? anybody there?’ A person may logically conclude there is no God when her prayers seem to go unanswered, and evil such as abortion continues to claim the lives the innocent. But then, what would be the point of faith in God if all was revealed and explainable?
God uses everything for good (Romans 8:28). And it is part of His goodness that He does not impose his will on any of us, leaving us free to choose, even if that choice is something intrinsically evil. Our prayers, then, are they in vain? No. Nothing is lost, and every now and then, we receive signs that our cries to heaven are being heard. This morning, as I was pondering the importance of fidelity in prayer and how hard it can be at times when it seems the battle is a lost cause, I found the follow message in an email (Addressed to the 40 Days for Life – prayer campaign):
I just wanted to send you guys a text to let you know that what you do out there does make a difference.
When I went to that abortion clinic last week to drop off my money to terminate my pregnancy, I saw people standing out there with signs. I didn’t expect to see that and part of me felt ashamed.
I drove through the gates anyway and went inside, gave them my money and made an appointment for 2:30pm today.
As I was driving away I couldn’t help but think that maybe there was another way. All this week I thought and prayed about it and I realized in my heart what the right thing to do was.
I can’t help but think, that had you guys not been there that day to remind me that I had another choice, that maybe one more baby would have died today.
Don’t stop what you’re doing. It matters. It did to me. From the blonde lady in the white SUV who picked up her money instead of aborting her baby today.
This is a different woman than the one I specifically prayed for; her heart was ready to find another way through her difficult situation. Maybe my small prayers made a difference after all?
As we go about our work today, let us be assured that our prayers, works, joys and sufferings can be offered as prayers for the intentions of others. Let us offer these to God to use as He desires, for his vision of the needs of the world are far greater than our own. This is the key to having faith, as Hebrews, chapter 11 verse 1 states: “Faith is the realization of what is hoped for and evidence of things not seen.” And in living our day in this way, we may bring to life our faith in God, and trust that He uses our prayers which are a treasure beyond measure.