Thursday, August 11, 2011

Prayer: God's Way of Preserving His Purposes

God is more concerned about preserving His purposes than preventing our pain.  
(Steve Furtick, Elevation Ministries, Charlotte)

I was moved by a story that I read today about a young boy who, last Saturday (August 6), was sucked out to sea while swimming with other teenagers from his church. Twelve year old Dale Ostrander was playing in the water when an expected and strong undertow carried him farther out. Unreachable to his friends. When trained rescuers finally found Dale, it was believed that he had been underwater for almost 20 minutes. There was no heartbeat.

One of the most captivating pictures I have ever seen is the one below. Teenagers on their knees or in groups praying, calling out to the God to whom they had been taught hears prayers. For some of them, it may have been one of the first times they had ever prayed so intently. But tragedy, that unplanned turn for the worse, leaves no room for speculating about prayers effectiveness.

Desperation and helplessness often lean toward the nucleus of prayer. Understood or not.

Pictures courtesy of Damian Mulinix, a photographer at the Chinook Observer newspaper

"We trust (God) no matter what, and if He chooses to take Dale to heaven, and if He still chooses that, then He's still good," she said. "And if He chooses to bless us and give us back our son, He's still good." (Chad Ostrander, Dale's father)

Click to see video about Dale's story

 Prayers for Dale Blog

It was not until Dale arrived at the local hospital that a heartbeat was detected. That, in itself, unbelievable after all that time. Almost one week later, Dale's condition has been upgraded to fair and he is no longer in ICU though he has not been able to get out of bed yet. Doctors and rescue team members are in awe of this "impossible" turn. 

 Many a book has been written on prayer. Many a word has been used to try to describe it. From the skeptic (who believes that his prayer was "denied") to the ecstatic believer (who has seen absolute miracles through the power of prayer), it still remains an anomalous utility in the life of believers in Jesus Christ (and sometimes in the life of those who choose not to believe in Jesus).

What are your thoughts on prayer? 

Read back over the beginning quote at the top of this blog entry. Is that a hard truth to swallow? Does it mean that God really does not care about our pain?