How to Pray Anyway
by Ron Hughes
The other day I took note that biblical writers used two different verbs relative to the believer’s communication with God. In Numbers 11, we read of the judgment of the Lord coming among His people because of their complaining. They appealed to Moses and verse 2 records that “when Moses prayed to the LORD, the fire was quenched.” (NKJV)
Most Christians have found themselves in roughly similar situations—ones where someone’s distress moves them to bring that person’s predicament to the Lord for resolution. Note that Moses seemed to be somewhat detached from the circumstances. The people were desperate, but we see Moses “praying,” no doubt fervently, but apparently dispassionately.
In the next chapter, judgment fell specifically on Miriam, Moses’ sister, because of her speaking against her brother. This time, we find Scripture using a different word regarding his approach to the Lord: “So Moses cried out to the LORD, saying, ‘Please heal her, O God, I pray!’” (Nu 12:13 NKJV) In due course, Miriam was restored to her place in the community.
Most of us have also found ourselves in situations where our emotional involvement with a sufferer intensifies our prayer to the point of “crying out to the Lord.” (Perhaps too many of us only pray when we are in the throes of emotional turmoil because of suffering that afflicts us or those we love.)
As I read of the constant stream of misery regarding our Christian brothers and sisters in troubled parts of the world, I shake my head in disbelief that such cruelty can be perpetrated against the innocent and harmless and the rest of the world be untouched by it. Now, you may be preparing yourself for a lecture on how we should identify with these suffering saints and be moved to cry out to the Lord on their behalf. Certainly, I commend that to you.
However, let me point out that in both scenarios in Moses’ life,
the Lord answered his prayer.
Many of us in the West cannot relate to the kind of suffering we encounter in the news. Some of us shut down as to avoid entering into emotional turmoil at the hideous images.
May I urge the Lord’s people to pray,
regardless of their personal emotional response.
If you are deeply moved and cry out to God on behalf of the suffering, wonderful! The Lord hears and responds to those heart cries. But if you find yourself, for whatever reason, less emotionally involved, having a more cerebral response, pray anyway. The Lord also hears and responds to prayer that arises in the mind.
Pray, regardless of how you feel.
Father, I confess that I often pray capriciously. Forgive me for neglecting prayer for justice to be done and righteousness to prevail in the world around me. Today, I specifically lift up my suffering brothers and sisters, wherever they are. Stimulate my mind. Stir my emotions. Let me not rest in intercession, today. In Jesus name, amen.
Ron is president of FBH International , a multi-language media ministry and maintains an active itinerant speaking ministry in churches and conferences. Ron is a professional member of The Word Guild and has one published book, “Refresh: 19 ways to boost your spiritual life”, and is working on several other writing projects. Much of his writing is published on the ministry website and has been used in radio broadcasts. Ron has been married to Debbie since 1976. They have four children, one of whom is married. They live on a 100 acre farm in the Niagara region which they share with a few horses, chickens, cats and a dog.