Sunday, November 4, 2012

Prayer Can Move Mountains

A few weeks ago, before I hung up the phone, I told my friend that I would be praying for her.

I resumed cooking supper. From in the living room, my husband asked, “Will you?”

I swirled the pasta and laid the wooden spoon across the top of the steaming, stainless-steel pot.

I said, “Will I what?”

“Will you be praying for her.”

I looked over at my husband, who was letting our daughter pull on the zipper of his shirt.

“I mean--I want to," I said. "I will whenever I think about it.”

I honestly didn’t think too much about our conversation until three days had passed, and I realized that I hadn’t been praying for my friend’s situation like I had said I would.

My husband’s question challenged me as much as my unfulfilled promise to my friend, and both made me think: How often do we say we will be praying for someone, and then never do?

The modern-day church tacks that rote sentence, “I will be praying for you,” like “Bless you” after a sneeze. We know it is a polite phrase when someone is going through a dire situation, and yet we have no concept of how powerful our prayers actually are, or we would actually be praying.

Exactly one week ago, we prayed for my sister-in-law who was ready to give birth at any time. Her previous delivery had been very traumatic, with my precious nephew being whisked to the NICU right after birth and remaining there even after my sister-in-law had been sent home.

Because of this experience, my sister-in-law had deep-rooted fear surrounding the birth and the safety of the child and the responsibility of the child she had already delivered. We did not say it, but the rest of us had fear, too.

When someone you love is facing childbirth, there are worst-case-scenarios that plague your mind. We each tried to annihilate them, and cast them back to the pit from whence they came, but sometimes it is hard to trust when the person you are laying on the altar is sitting right in front of you.

We gathered around my sister-in-law and prayed for a quick delivery, for protection for the mother and the unborn child, that the doctors and nurses would all have wisdom. It was not a long intercession and not very eloquent, but I know I felt much lighter for having had prayed, and everyone else seemed to have renewed peace as well.

This morning – one week after we prayed – my husband nudged me awake and held up his phone.

“What is it?” I rasped, groggy-eyed.

“Read it,” he said.

I took the phone and squinted at the black letters on the white screen. My sister-in-law had given birth to a healthy, almost eight-pound boy. She had given birth so quickly, there was not even time for an epidural.

At first, I thought it was a joke, but my mother-in-law’s text was obviously serious. My husband scrolled through the previous text that we had also slept through and realized that four hours had passed from the time my sister-in-law had gotten to the hospital until she had given birth.

My sister-in-law’s previous delivery had taken over twenty-four hours. This was indeed a miracle.

“Oh, my,” I kept saying. “Oh, my.”

I looked over at my husband and smiled. I then realized that when I next tell a friend I will be praying for her, I will not say it as a rote phrase, but as a promise. We really have no concept the impact our prayers have on the shifting of life’s course.

My newborn nephew is proof.

Do you believe that prayer can move mountains?

How have you seen prayer move in your life?

Do you also say, “I’ll be praying for you," but then struggle to follow through on that promise?


  1. I had a big one answered just this past week. I was almost in shock that it was actually answered but I'll take it!

    1. I do the same thing, Candace--acting shocked when a prayer is answered, even when I have been praying that it would be answered. It's a good thing He is a merciful God. :)

  2. I also had a huge prayer answered recently. My husband was diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer. His tumor was quickly removed (thank God it was operable) he began radiation and chemo and just finished his first round last week. He's doing so well. I believe his health is not only due to his physical strength, his age, and his upbeat personality, but i also believe he is doing so well because of all of the hundreds of people praying for him.
    I pray that he continues to do well. And I pray that you are your family stay healthy and happy as well. :)
    Thanks for the enlightening post.
    have a nice evning,

    1. Oh, Tamara. I had no idea, friend. You seem so unbelievably strong! I don't think I could even type if faced with such a battle. So glad for the good report, and please keep me updated on his progress. Praying for a complete recovery!

  3. I don't know if prayer can move mountains or not, but I don't think it can hurt. And I do think it can help by uniting people around a common cause, and sharing love and concern. It's never bad to do that.

    I'm glad everything turned out well for your family members.

    I offer prayer support to people who will accept it, and I make every effort to send up a prayer or two or three, or every minute, depending on the circumstances. But I try not to fall into a trap of thinking that prayers are answered, because sometimes prayers seem to be not answered.

    Life is a mystery.

    1. It is amazing how prayer can unite people, even if they differ in every other political and economic spectrum. I'd say that shows the power of prayer. Maybe the mountains that are moved are more figurative than literal. :)

  4. Your post really makes me think of all those "empty promises/phrases" that fly from our lips so frequently. Taking pause to be authentic in our words and actions is so very important. Thanks for the reminder, Jolina.

  5. I do believe in the power of prayer. I have seen it in my life and the lives of those around me.

    When I tell someone I will pray for them, I do it, right then. That way I don't forget. It doesn't have to be a long lengthy diatribe. A heartfelt, "Lord, bless them, protect them, help them" works just as well. Then in my daily, morning and evening prayer, I always add the intentions of those I've promised to pray for, maybe not listed individually. God knows our hearts and intentions count. Great post, Jolina.

  6. Great solution, Cecilia. I will try to apply it!

  7. I've done the same thing, Cecilia. This has certainly been a learning year for me. I've grown in a number of ways and have discovered that in order to receive, we must ask. It's so simple, yet can seem so foreign at times. I've watched prayer move a number of mountains this year and I've watched concerns, fears, worries fade as I place them in the hands of the Lord...

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