One of the most devastating questions I had to face after Dominic ran ahead to heaven was, “What difference does prayer make?”
I had prayed-diligently prayed-for every one of my children since before they were born.
Even Dominic’s name, which means “belonging to God” was chosen carefully to reflect my heart’s desire that this child follow hard after Jesus.
Dominic had served Christ’s church with his time, talents and resources his whole life. Yet he was not quite 24 when he met Jesus face to face.
So why didn’t prayer “work”? Why did my son die in an accident when others live?
I thought I understood prayer.
I thought that if I followed the formula I’d been taught:
- praise God;
- confess my sins;
- thank Him for the blessings He gave;
- and then submit my petitions;
He would be obligated to grant them.
But I was wrong.
Prayer is not a vending machine-put something in and get something out.
I wrote this just a few months after he left us:
Did the mother whose son died pray less or with less faith than the mother whose son lives?
We must be careful to remember that God is sovereign and while we are commanded to pray, our words do not dictate His actions. He alone knows the end from the beginning. He alone is the Alpha and Omega.
I now understand that prayer is privileged communication with the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe.
It is an opportunity to align my heart with His.
It’s a way to tap into the Living Water that Jesus promised the Samaritan woman He met at the well.
It’s two-way conversation where I need to do as much listening as talking.
So I no longer come with a basket full of petitions, hoping they are granted.
Instead I kneel, hands outstretched. longing only for His touch, His Presence, His grace, mercy and sustaining strength.
I still pray but it is a simple prayer:
“Lord, I need You.”