Prayer is power when facing health challenges

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Never is God’s presence and hand been more obvious than in helping us and those we love face very serious health concerns.

Someone once said, “when you have your health, you have just about everything.”

Well I would argue that when you have Jesus, you have an even greater advantage worth more than even health. That’s because we may not always be in good physical health. But with God’s care and keeping, we can bravely face life’s storms even when it comes to our health matters.

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And through God’s grace, we find ourselves walking into blessing we hadn’t really thought of ourselves.

That’s why I wanted to take this opportunity to encourage each of us to be always open concerning God’s will in our lives. This means we must never limit God to simply those specific things we might think to ask for on our own.

Instead, we must pray for God to choose how we may be blessed in accordance with Divine will. After all, God will choose the appropriate blessing, anyway.

Such a prayer means we are open to God’s leading, God’s guidance, and ready to receive blessings. If the blessing is restored health, or final reward of eternal life, then the blessing is of God’s choice.

This helps us understand that God is good — all the time. But our faith must recognize the goodness.

In our attempts to assure we heed the Apostle Paul’s admonition to “Pray without ceasing” we must never ignore our constant need to listen for and to God.

Listening for God requires us to first be still, and know that God is God. Listening to God goes beyond the human ear, and is the work of our spirit as God communicates with us.

This means we can pray with the understanding that the response from God to that prayer will be in God’s own time, and by God’s choosing.

Prayer changes us, not God!

Therefore since God has all options available to respond, our change of heart, change of mind, and often changes in behavior come from listening for and to the direction provided by God.

While we say: “God finally heard our prayers.” Actually, God heard our hearts and spirits, and picked the option best suited for us or the situation.

We were changed. Moving mountains is purely God’s option. Pushing against mountains through prayer indicates our commitment to be on God’s side and develop our spiritual muscles of faith.

But, the most important thing that any of us must pray for is “God’s will.” In the meantime, that is also why it is so important to do all we can to protect and care for our relationships with others, our resources, and the health God has already blessed us with.

We must remember to get enough rest, maintain sensible eating habits, make sure we exercise according to our abilities, learn to manage stress and follow the advice of our medical professionals.

Philippians 4:13 help us understand that we can accomplish all these things through Christ —who gives us the strength to do so.

The Rev. Melonie A. Valentine is pastor of Quinn Chapel AME Church in Ironton.