I have been through at least two severe crises in my adult life. One was the winter night in 1994 when my wife, Elaine, sustained major injuries in a terrible crash caused by a drunk driver. She was months in recovery when doctors thought she might never walk again.
The second crisis came a few days ago when a large Maple tree fell on our youngest son (Dwayne) who is the “farmer” on our 40-acre property. He was trying to take down the tree with the help of others when it cracked and fell in the wrong direction. He was badly injured, but has survived despite a broken back, broken ribs, broken collar bone and (I am not sure of the proper term here) a “torn” spinal sack.
After numerous days in and out of trauma intensive care, he will begin a long, slow healing process which may take months to a year.
In both instances, prayers have been poured out on our behalf beyond all imagining. I notified some, they notified others, and the coverage went exponential after that. We have been covered with prayers from a few hours after each accident through many months (in my wife’s case) and through the seven days since the most recent accident.
The fruits of the first sustained prayer efforts are evident. Elaine has known good mobility for many years since the accident. Dwayne’s level of recovery is still in the hands of God, many prayers, good surgeons, and physical therapy caregivers.
I have taught about prayer, preached about prayer, read books and studied prayer over the years. Now, once again, we are experiencing what it means to be bathed in prayer. Such “bathing, covering, saturation” is a faith-based experience like no other.
I have long resisted an easy interpretation of intercessory prayer. I don’t believe prayer changes the facts, but I do believe that prayer causes divine and human healing energy to flow in abundance. And I believe that the larger the number of people praying, the greater the healing energy flow. This is true for persons in terminal cases of cancer, persons who survive a stroke or heart attack, and instances of bodily injury.
A few years ago, I tried to write a personal faith statement that reflected my theology after four decades of active ministry. That faith statement includes this word on prayer:
· I believe that when we pray, a mysterious but powerful energy is released on behalf of individual lives, communities, and nations.
What happened in 1994 and what happened a few days ago have reinforced that understanding of prayer in so many ways. I believe it is a description of what a Christian praying life looks like in the 21st century.
Have you formed a relevant and communicable theology of prayer in your life? Do people around you know what prayer means for you? Have your shared it widely and in appropriate situations? Can you LEAD prayer in a way that is meaningful and contagious?
July 10, 2012