Don’t Write Off a Powerful Prayer (reprinted with permission)

By Heather McGillivray

Being somewhat of a snoop, I enjoy getting together with friends and finding out what’s going on in their lives. I also love when I make a new friend and get to sit down and talk with her (really talk) for the first time—which is why I was right in my element last night, tucked away in our little booth at Country Style Donuts while my new friend told me all about the past harrowing half decade of her life.

I don’t enjoy hearing about the hardships of others, but I am inspired whenever I get to be close to someone who happens to wake up in the middle of living her dream–only to discover it has turned into a nightmare from which she does not have the luxury of escaping–and stops every once in a while, through tears, to tell me how God has been good to her.

She could choose to fall apart and let the people who depend on her most down—or she could bear up under the weight of it and keep putting one foot in front of the other. She has chosen the latter, and I am greatly humbled by her example–having been the queen of falling apart all over the place and basically spilling out from between my own seams on many a memorable occasion.

I cannot imagine going through the situations she is facing and still be as intact as she is.

We agreed to pray for each other. Sometimes we’re in a situation too long, too tightly and too deep to pray our way objectively out of it; sometimes praying for someone else’s situation and knowing they are praying for ours is almost as good as a vacation.

But on the way home I couldn’t help thinking to myself—what I really want to do is rewrite the rest of her life.

I want to open a new page in my laptop and start typing turns in the road ahead. I want to write her a reprieve: days without rain and sunshine around every corner. I want to build a white picket fence around her dreams and keep out the big, bad wolf.

Instead, I prayed. And not the mental ascent kind of prayer I sometimes send off when I haven’t taken the time to get acquainted with the situation—the kind of deep pleading and crying out to God that only comes by the power and love of His Holy Spirit, and through the witness of having experienced some of the same kind of pain. I prayed on the way home. I prayed in my favourite prayer place. And I prayed just now while the writing of this brings it back to my heart afresh.

And, while I don’t know how the story will unfold, I do know there is a peace and assurance of faith that comes with leaving the final chapters in the hands of Him who wrote the Book on love.

We don’t get to write others off, so to speak. But we do have a powerful impact on how the rest of their stories will unfold. Our prayers can push back the antagonist; send healing rain and snatch lives back out of the mouth of the destroyer.

Why do I pray so little when I know that this is so?

Our prayers are powerful—they move mountains; they move God.

But most of all they move us.

The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with (James 5:16b The Message Bible).


Heather McGillivray

Heather lives in Chelmsford, Ontario, with her college aged children. She knows they haven’t left yet because she’s still doing their laundry and buying lots of groceries–she just can’t figure out where they’re hiding, or what they’ve done with the van.

The most exciting thing in her life right now, apart from Jesus, is that He’s letting her write her very first novel, and she’s almost done it. She loves poetry, and could get lost for weeks at a time in a good one. What she knows above all else, is that God hears and answers prayer–and for that she is eternally grateful. Visit her at her blog.