Wednesday, October 19, 2011

"Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving." Colossians 4:2

Experiencing the Power of Prayer
(c)Photo by Carole Amateis-Lebruska 2011
I believe in the power of prayer more than ever.  More than I did a year ago, more than even a month ago.  The Lord has taught me much about the divine privilege He has given each of us: the ability to communicate with our Heavenly Father, the God who created heaven and earth and you and I.

When one experiences a personal crisis, God is always at work. You can count on it. Such a struggle is kind of similar to climbing  a mountain like this.  Seemingly almost impassable. But, with one step at a time, prayer helps us to climb onward.

 God is constantly active, not only in the person who is living through it but for those brothers and sisters in Christ who are praying fervently.  He has a message for everyone - even those watching from a distance.

During the last two and half months, I have been in a struggle - recovering from surgery, the unexpected and sudden end of my marriage, and literally having no place to call home.  I am still working through the shock of it all.  Each day I think I get a little stronger.  And since the beginning  -  from the days leading up to my surgery to now, I have felt the prayers of God's people.

It is as if the Lord has literally carried me at times.  I do not even know how I got through some days - it is somewhat of a blur.  But every day - I mean every day, the Lord walked beside me.  He knew exactly what was happening - it was no surprise to Him.

I could probably write a book on the marvelous ways God has answered prayers in just this short time.  But here are just a few examples of how God was a part of every day life.These happenings are what I call a "God thing" -that is to say, He was very much involved :-)

In July, I canceled a surgery that was to be done in one hospital and went to one far from home. It was good that I did; not only did I have a hiatal hernia but further tests ordered by my doctor showed that it was large and it was twisting and could cut off my air supply. The day I was to have that test, I woke up with a massive migraine - but I had to fast for 12 hours and could not take any medicine for it.  Somehow - through the power of prayer - I drove myself through heavy traffic to the medical imaging facility and got through the test, then drove back to my son's apartment where I hit the bed after taking meds for the nausea and excruciating pain. Thank you Lord for getting me through that one.

The surgeon saw me on one day and the procedure was done the next morning.  He said it would probably take about two hours or so and I may have a tube inserted in my abdomen.  It took just a little over an hour and no tube had to be inserted.  People were praying.  Four days later, I drove myself home - across the entire state, stopping to walk about every hour or so to prevent blood clots. I made the trip just fine. People were praying. 

I was on a liquid/soft diet for six weeks.  I was supposed to have trouble swallowing but have not. I have healed much more quickly than I ever imagined. God's servants  have been praying.

When my marriage began to fall apart, the phone rang - family and friends were there for me - their prayers and counsel got me through some really painful and difficult days.  I did not know what to do and I was still not well.

Through the power of the Lord, I had the strength to move when my marriage collapsed; I was advised to take things with me if I left.  Not that I did it alone - in fact, the Lord sent wonderful Christian friends and family to help me - I mostly directed them as they packed my belongings into a storage unit.  I felt rather helpless - it was hard not being able to do much. But they were so loving and caring - often reminding me to go rest and not lift anything heavy so I would not hurt myself or undo the surgery.

Still in shock, I left the storage unit.  Leaving my belongings and the life I had known behind, it hit me.  I have no home. I have no job. My husband had told me I did not need to work outside the home.  I had little savings. The Lord brought to mind that Jesus had no home during a time when he was on earth.  He did not fret - He knew His Father would take care of Him. That knowledge was a comfort.

A longtime friend and dear sister in Christ and her husband opened their home to me.  Another answered prayer.  I stayed there for almost two weeks looking for places to live, swallowing my pride and lining up at the Health and Human Services for assistance.  It was there that I saw others - so many other people who needed help.  It was an eye opener. As was my time at the job service agency. People from far and near looking for jobs. It was something I needed to experience.  I know God will use it somehow in my future - hopefully to help others.

Even though my husband agreed to take care of me for one month, I knew I had to find a source of income soon. For days, I searched for work and a place to live.  Family and friends continued to tell me - I am praying for you.  I knew it - I felt it.  Friends, former classmates and family across the miles called.  Cell phones and the Internet can be wonderful tools to bind hearts and lives together - another  blessing from the Lord.

Then one day I walked into a job agency.  I was put to work that afternoon as a medical records clerk.  It was temporary but I was thankful just the same - another answer to prayer. Could my body endure the work?  My doctor gave me the go ahead.

The same day my wonderful Christian friends who had previously been my landlords said I could rent the very same apartment I had six years ago.  It was a miracle!  And the power of prayer in action again. I praised and thanked the Lord.

Today, the temp job has ended. I continue to search for work and to unpack boxes - which were moved by another group of Christian friends while I was at work (some the same as who had moved me the first time). Can I ever repay them for what they have done?  I will pray that the Lord blesses them in special ways, for one thing.

 One of those dear friends, a pastor, shared some of his earnings with me when my marriage first ended.  The money had been a gift to him from another Christan - he just passed it on to me.  A true blessing from the Lord.  I spend it very decisively - for I look upon it as from the Lord Himself.

 Another dear friend has hooked up my washer and dryer and done numerous things for me around the apartment that I could not do myself.  This friend has added a lot of joy to my life through humor and other friends have invited me out to eat with them to ease my loneliness.  Answered prayers.
All are God's servants.  All a part of answered prayers.

I do not know what the future holds but I know Who holds my future.  I am trying very hard to listen to the Lord's leading.  I have music to share and writing skills to put to good use for Him.  But I also have to make a living and I am no spring chicken!

And through this all, as God has taught me much about the power of prayer, I have prayed for others and continue to.  Because I know prayer has power and is one of the truest expressions of Christ-like love.

 If the Holy Spirit is prompting you to pray for someone, do it.  And keep praying as He told us to - without ceasing.  God always answers - in His time.  He may answer in ways you do not expect or say "wait awhile" or perhaps His answer may even be "no" - but He will answer, according to His divine will. 

And if you need prayer - ask for it.  Do not be ashamed or too proud to ask for help.  God has provided this gift to us - receive it and be thankful. 

Have any of you had the opportunity to see prayer at work in your life?


Shelly N. said...

YES!!! God is so good. God is so Faithful.

Melissa Marsh said...

This is excellent, Mom. One of your best, I think. I'm so glad that you have such a strong relationship with the Lord. :-)

Sandi said...

Do not let the world dictate your future but look only to Jesus for the truth of your future. Christ has taught that to have hope is to build a foundation for faith. "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for.." (Hebrews 11:1) Plus, God delights in using "the foolish things of the world to confound the wise." (1 Corinthians 1:27) and as David proclaimed, "I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes." (2 Samuel 6:22) for the sake of an uncompromising faith in Christ's goodness!

God is "the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were." (Romans 4:17) and that this is what it means to step out in faith. To the Almighty, there is no "future tense". Your future is not "unknown" to Christ and He does not care what the world "knows" or presents as evidence because He see things as they are meant to be and calls them as such and He only requires that we trust Him for the truth and not the world. For example, in the story of Jairus' daughter, Jesus is on his way with Jairus to visit her when a person meets them and tells them not to bother any more because the girl had died. (assuming it was too late for Jesus to help.) But Jesus is not shaken and when He gets there and sees all the people mourning He says to them, "'Stop wailing,'...'She is not dead but asleep' They laughed at him, knowing that she was dead. But he took her by the hand and said, "Child get up!" Her spirit returned and at once she stood up." (Luke 8:52-56) In this passage Jesus both "gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were." He told the mourners "She is not dead." when, in fact, she was... temporarily. Since Jesus knows the future, from His perspective the girl was as good as alive. The current situation...all the natural was all completely irrelevant to Jesus. This is what it means to step out in faith. It means that we can speak a truth that is outside the realm of the present circumstances. Faith is being "certain of what we do not see." (Hebrews 11:1) Just trust in Him and in His goodness and in His power, and in His love.

He is capable of the impossible. A God of miracles! "What is impossible with men is possible with God." (Luke 18:27) He is willing and all we need to do is ask. (Mark 1:41) and (Luke 18:1-8). "The devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour." (1 Peter 5:8) and that he is a thief that "comes only to steal and kill and destroy;" but that Christ has come that I "may have life, and have it to the full." (John 10:10)

God's grace is sufficient and your faith will endure.

Carole said...

Thank you Sandi - I really appreciated your post:-)

Terri Tiffany said...

Oh my goodness. I am so sorry you have been going through all of this! I know from four years of living with worry and praying non-stop that God can and will provide for our needs and I appreciate your testimony to that fact, He will use this experience for good!!! I will be praying for you too that you find that perfect job!

Carole said...

Thank you Terri - this week the Lord has provided two writing assignments - a freelance feature story for a local paper and writing for a website - I praise HIm for this:-)
I appreciate you visiting my blog soo much - take care and keep praying - it works! God is so good.