By Dr. Froswa’ Booker-Drew
This week, a friend informed me that she was following the ambulance to the hospital with her husband. Her husband was going through a major health crisis. She wasn’t the only one who reached out—a friend’s mother had unexplained pain and another friend contacted me about her friend’s son who was hospitalized with pneumonia. Each of them asked that I pray for them.
I consider it an honor to pray for others. Pray is powerful and I love that I have a group of friends who I can turn to that I call the “prayer warriors” that when I send a text to lift up the concerns and issues of others before God, they go into battle mode. Prayer is a weapon and I think many of us don’t understand it’s power until we need it. For many of us, it’s a routine, something that’s more about religion than it is about relationship.
We have gotten prayer twisted as some exchange solely for stuff. God is not a celestial Santa Claus dropping off gifts. Prayer is an opportunity to go before to God sincerely in relationship. “And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” (Matthew 6:5–8)
Prayer is about faith. It is believing that God hears us. “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16) I realize that my prayers are even more powerful when I am in relationship with others seeking God: “For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them” (Matthew 18:20).
It’s dangerous when we see prayer as a way to manipulate God into doing what we want. There is nothing wrong with bringing your requests before God but it’s important to check our motivation and intention. It’s also important to know that just because God doesn’t answer our prayers in the way that we want does not mean that God doesn’t love us. It doesn’t mean that God does not hear us. It does not negate the omnipotence or goodness of God, either. We must believe that God is able. “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
It’s easy to blame God when things don’t go the way we want them to—”the rain falls on the just and the unjust” (Matthew 5:45). Terrible things happen to good people often. We live in an unjust world with people making decisions that are informed more by profit than people. We cannot take those principles into our relationship with God. We must believe that “… all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28) …. God is concerned with our hearts, with people and cares for us even when things don’t go the way we’d like.
I can report that all of the individuals we prayed for had excellent results. God is good! Yet, I realize that this isn’t always the case. Prayer is powerful. God wants us to have this daily form of communication. 1 John 5:14, tells us: “And this is the boldness we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, he hears us.” Don’t use prayer just when you need something. Just as all relationships require consistent communication for growth and results, the same is even more important in our relationship with God. Prayer is a powerful partnership with God that can move mountains when we believe!
Dr. Froswa’ Booker-Drew is the CEO of Soulstice Consultancy and the founder of the Reconciliation and Restoration Foundation (r2fdn.org). She is also the author of four books including Empowering Charity: A New Narrative of Philanthropy and the host of the Tapestry podcast.