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Difficult Prayers

Encouraging Prayer / James Banks
The Truth Network Radio
March 9, 2024 12:00 pm

Difficult Prayers

Encouraging Prayer / James Banks

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March 9, 2024 12:00 pm

In this episode of Encouraging Prayer, James Banks and Robby Dilmore, discuss difficult prayers. 

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Hey, this is Mike Zwick from If Not For God Podcast. Our show, Stories of Hopelessness, Turned into Hope. Your chosen Truth Network Podcast is starting in just seconds. Enjoy it, share it.

But most of all, thank you for listening and for choosing the Truth Podcast Network. Today an encouraging prayer is going to tackle a tough topic when you're praying about something so difficult like the healing of a loved one. How do you pray? And how do you pray with faith for something that you dearly want to happen that you believe would be the right thing for God to do? How do you ask in a moment like that?

And what happens if you don't get what you're asking for? James, you encountered this very thing this past week, didn't you? Yes, we did. This past Saturday evening, I learned that my only sister, my beautiful and gifted sister, had suffered a devastating heart attack. And she was playing the piano for her church. And then after the service, she got up, was walking into the kitchen, and she just suddenly went down. And she hit her head and actually coded twice, once at the church, once in the ambulance. And soon we learned that she had blood clots in both lungs. The prognosis wasn't good, but, you know, there was still hope, especially hope as we were bringing her before God.

You know, she was in a coma at first, and, you know, we didn't know what was going to happen. We were fervently praying. Her church was praying. Our church was praying. The family was praying, you know. Oh, that's so heartbreaking. But at the same time, you know, what can we do at a time like that if we didn't have God to turn to in prayer?

That is so right, Robbie. I can't tell you the comfort and hope God gave us, just to place her in his hands. So my nephew showed up late that night, and she was in a coma, non-responsive, and, you know, he goes into the chapel to pray. And while he's in there praying, she came out of the coma. And she was able to follow simple commands to open and close her eyes, and that was huge because we were, you know, worried about her mental acuity, and we were so thankful. But later that night, she, while she was sleeping, suffered a stroke on her right side, and later that morning we learned that her kidneys and liver were starting to shut down. Oh, I'm so sorry.

So what did you do then? Well, we kept praying, and that was where we really had to think carefully as well, you know, to watch our hearts while we were praying. Yeah, talk about that some more. Well, there are several different responses you can have at a time like that, and we heard both of them from those who were praying. One was actually someone telling God to, quote, do the right thing, you know, and to heal her. And, you know, I so appreciated his prayers, but I thought, well, that's not right, because God always does the right thing.

No question about that, you know, whether we agree with it or not, we may not understand why he allows some things, but he always does the right thing. And the other response was from someone who was simply not going to accept that God would not heal her. And, oh man, as a pastor, oh man, as a pastor, I've seen this a lot, you know, but she felt that way because she felt that if she thought any other way, it would have been a lack of faith. And my heart went out to both of these people who were praying, you know, both these different ways. And I was so grateful for their prayers, yet as I was praying for my sister, I knew God was leading me to go in another direction.

Wow. And what direction was that? Well, I know I needed to ask for her to be healed and to exercise faith as I asked, to believe that God was totally able to do what I was asking. But my faith wasn't to be in the outcome, you know. Yes, I was believing for a positive outcome, but my faith ultimately was in God himself. You know, I know that He's good, I know that He's loving, and I know that there's no one more loving than He. So I was able to rest in that while I prayed, knowing that whatever the most loving thing was, He would do it. Now, I fully believed, again, that He was able to heal her, and I asked for that. But I also believe that He is God, and I am not, and His wisdom is perfect, and mine is not, and I need to trust Him while I believe in Him.

And that's not always easy, is it? Oh, man. And it reminds me of the way Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane before He went to the cross. He asked God that He not go, but then He prayed, your will, not mine, Father.

That's exactly right. And that wasn't a lack of faith for Jesus to pray that way. If you believe that, you can take that up with Him, not me. Because that's how He prayed.

Make no mistake about it. But what He was doing was submitting Himself fully to the Father, even what He wanted in that moment. So that's not a lack of faith at all.

Actually, it's a more complete kind of believing, because it even leaves the outcome to Him, and basically says, Abba, Father, you're able to do anything, but no matter what happens, I'm going to believe that you are good. So, James, please share with our listeners what happened for your sister. Well, later that day, you know, after all of our praying, my sister went to be with Jesus. And she wasn't even removed from life support. Her heart just stopped. And that was heartbreaking for all of us, because she was so very special. She had such a huge influence on my life and my faith growing up, on my choice of a college and a wife, and we were very, very close. But I also saw God's mercy in some beautiful ways for her, and for me along the way. So I want to dedicate this episode to my beautiful sister, Susan. But we saw God's mercy, even at the very end.

So how did you do that? Well, first, she didn't suffer long at all. You know, she died serving the Lord faithfully. And I saw her as mercy in the fact that we had just talked the day before, and we had had a great conversation. And I was so thankful for that.

Oh yeah, I can imagine. Yeah, and the timing of my finding out what was happening was a gift. And in my adolescence, two of the people who had a huge influence on my faith were C.S. Lewis and my sister, who was a humble genius in her own right. She was modest about it, but she had the test scores to prove it. She even turned down a scholarship to Stanford so she could attend a Christian college. But, you know, right as I got the phone calls from my nephew and my brother about what was happening, I was walking into a C.S.

Lewis on-stage production, and the title of it was Further Up and Further In. And it was all about the hope of the resurrection and the eternal life. And, you know, as I'm sitting there thinking and praying for my sister, I'm pondering these things and pondering my faith and my past and my life with my sister. And, you know, it was just the perfect place to be. I was just so thankful. Wow, the timing couldn't have been better. Yeah, and that's so like God, because though we grieve, as Paul put it, we do not grieve as those who have no hope.

Wow. I mean, wow, God is good. All the time.

All the time. Let's pray. Father, we thank you that you've got us, that we are in your hands through your mercy, through your spirit, Jesus, through your cross and resurrection. Oh, we praise you, our hope, the resurrection and the life in your name we pray. Amen. Amen. You can hear more from Pastor James by visiting his website, jamesbanks.org, or by visiting Peace Church in Durham, North Carolina. May God bless you and encourage you as you pray.
Whisper: medium.en / 2024-03-09 12:18:04 / 2024-03-09 12:21:54 / 4

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