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Pray for Big Things

Pray for Big Things

JANUARY 9, 2024

/ Articles / Pray for Big Things

“Mom’s in the hospital again. The doctor said that this is it. She won’t be coming home.”

My mother had been slowly and painfully dying from liver disease for almost two years. Because her liver was not functioning properly, it could not filter her blood. Every few months she would go into a coma and my father, who was caring for her at home, would call for an ambulance to take her to the hospital. At the hospital, doctors would be able to treat her and bring her out of the coma.

Mom’s primary care doctor had warned my father that the way this would end was that the day would come when they would be unable to bring her out of one of her comas. Dad had just called to tell me that that day had arrived. Mom was expected to die within a few days.

This was not unanticipated, and I felt like I was prepared for it. But I was afraid that our kids might not be.

My wife and I had four children, a nine-year-old girl, a six-year-old boy, a three-year-old boy, and a two-year-old girl. I was deeply concerned about how this news was going to impact them, especially the boys.

Among the things that my wife and I taught our kids about God is that he loves us and that he answers our prayers. Neither my wife’s parents nor my parents were believers. Every night when we prayed with the children we prayed for the salvation of their grandparents. Now, one of their grandparents was about to die without having been saved.

I planned to explain to the kids that while God does always answer our prayers, sometimes the answer is not what we hope for. When he does not answer our prayers as we hope, the answer he does give is always what is good and right, and we can trust him.

I was confident that our older daughter would understand. I thought our other daughter was too young to be impacted by what was going on. But I was worried about the boys. I feared that they wouldn’t understand why God would let their Nana, whom they loved, die without receiving the salvation that they had prayed for every day of their lives.

After we had our talk the kids all said that they understood. I felt relieved that this sad news was not going to rattle the faith of our children. Then, we prayed.

When it was the three-year-old’s turn he prayed, “Dear God, please save Nana and Granddad, and Grandma and Grandpa.” My heart sank. He had not understood. I feared that when Mom died his faith would be shaken.  

The next afternoon I got a call from Dad. Mom was out of her coma, and he was taking her home. The doctors had no explanation for it he said.

The following day I called to check on Mom. She got on the phone and started asking me questions about God. Her eyesight was gone, and she could no longer read. Later that week she had Dad get her the Bible on tape and she listened to it every day. Every Sunday she listened to a worship service on the radio. Every Monday she called me with questions from the sermon. Mom, who had been quick-tempered and often angry became kind and thoughtful. She was a different person.

I remembered that story yesterday when our pastor preached from 2 Kings 20.

King Hezekiah was seriously ill. The prophet Isaiah came and told him, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Set your house in order, for you shall die, you shall not recover” (2 Kings 20:1).

The matter was settled. This was the end. Hezekiah was not going to heal from this illness. It was like when the doctor said my mother was in her last coma and that she would not recover.

After getting this news, Hezekiah cried out to the Lord. He wept bitterly. He prayed. Then God spoke to Isaiah and told him to turn back and tell Hezekiah. “I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Behold, I will add fifteen years to your life” (2 Kings 20:5).

Hezekiah prayed for something that seemed impossible and God granted his request. Although God had said he would not recover, he relented and gave him fifteen more years. My son prayed for something impossible, for the salvation of his grandmother while she was in a coma, and God regenerated her. 

We are invited to pray for big things, for impossible things. We should never give up. Sometimes it is the Lord’s will and people get miracles when they ask for them.

Mom lived for another year and a half. She grew deeper in her faith and rejoiced in the work of the Lord.

She had been regenerated and become a Christian while she was in a coma. It had happened when my three-year-old son had the faith to pray after everyone else had given up.

Barry Smith

Barry Smith

Barry’s aim is to prepare the Church to minister well in prisons so that prisoners are prepared to minister well in the Church. This is accomplished through service in complementary […]

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