I can’t express how glad I am that Dave’s hands aren’t hurting anymore. Let me explain why. As always, this is just a random ramble, so it might be boring, Allie.
As you may or may not know, I’m being heavily influenced by Ralph Neighbour’s ideas on the cell church. One of his ideas that has influenced me a lot is his emphasis on prayer. His belief essentially is that non Christians will be impacted when they see how God answers our specific prayers. More fundamentally, he believes that God answers prayer, so it’s important to pray, and conversely, stupid not to.
So here’s my problem, one of the things that keeps me from praying more. For me, prayer is a test of faith. And that’s a scary thing. It’s one thing to believe that God is God, and that He answers prayer, and say it and believe it. It’s another thing to truly believe it – to test it in your life, you know? I could always say, oh, if I were to pray, God would answer it. That’s safe. But it’s scary to actually pray for things. Because it puts your faith to the test. There’s a possibility that God might not answer, and that’s a scary thing. If that were to happen, it would put my faith in jeopardy.
So basically, I lack faith. I’m scared to pray beyond generalities, even though it’s specifically commanded in the Bible, and even when I do pray, I don’t pray with faith. At least in my mind, my prayers are timid, and I’m always thinking ways to explain away why they might not be answered. So, it’s a wussy faith, there’s no other way to put it.
Anyway, this book I’m reading just challenges me to put my faith on the line. Because if I don’t, then pretty much nothing will happen in my life, I won’t grow. Or, my growth will be determined to my own strength, which is limited. At any rate, for a lot of reasons, I’ve just been challenged to have real faith, and start praying for specific things, and trust God to answer that, and give me wisdom to recognize answers.
So, another problem I’ve always had was, I second guess myself. There was a tough situation in my life a few years back, and I remember being parlyzed because I didn’t know how to pray. I definitely knew what I wanted. But I had no idea if that was God’s will, and it made my prayers weak. I just felt like it was hard to ask for things if I didn’t know if it was God’s will. I don’t know if this makes any sense. But, it was just hard to pray for what I really wanted to happen.
Anyway, Pastor Dave gave me great advice on this. He said something to the effect like, you can’t fool God. So, I shouldn’t pray what I think vaguely might be what God wants me to pray. But I should always pray honestly. And, God will answer that. If I come sincerely and humbly, God will reveal His heart to me. And if it’s within His will, it will be answered. I don’t know, maybe it’s obvious to all of you, but, it really really encouraged me, back then. It just meant I didn’t have to second guess myself and have these wussy timid prayers. I could just full on pray for what I wanted. And, God answered it. Sorry for being so vague about this, but, whatever.
So the book I’m reading just kind of reminded me of that. So, I’ve been trying to be more specific in my prayers. I have to tell you, praying is not my strong point. Jieun made me take this spiritual gifts survey thing a couple years ago, and it was a little depressing. My gifts are all those things the Bible says to be careful of, like knowledge and stuff like that. I sucked at things like faith, mercy, all those “little” things that the Bible extols most. On a side note, me and Jieun’s gifts were perfectly complementary. But anyway.
So yeah, I suck at praying, and barely do, but still, this was my goal – to pray more specifically. So, the first thing I decided to pray for was my wrists.
When I started working, within a week, my forearms, wrists, and hands started hurting a lot. You know, the same thing Dave has. Repetitive stress injury. It was really bad, and was bothering me a lot. I bought the keyboard and mouse wrist pads, and whatever, but those didn’t really help me. So, I was really scared, because, you know, I’ll be typing for the rest of my life. I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life in pain.
So, I was reading, and realized, I hadn’t even prayed for it at all. Why? Again, I just have a wussy faith. What if I pray for it and nothing happens? Well, I can easily explain why that would be. It’s just not God’s will. So then, why pray at all? I guess that’s what I was thinking. In any case, though, it’s lame. So I was encouraged to pray for it.
And the great thing is, my wrists and hands don’t hurt anymore. It was really sudden, and dramatic, which is the amazing thing. Meaning, it was hurting on Tuesday, then all of a sudden, on Wednesday on, it didn’t hurt anymore. And, there was no good way to explain it. I had bought the wrist pads a week and a half earlier. It didn’t get any better after a weekend’s rest. It just didn’t make sense.
And, the sad thing is, my faith is still too wussy for me to say that God answered my prayer. He certainly did, but I’m too much of a wuss to say He healed me. Just because, I’m afraid of what happens if the pain comes back. Then what does that say about God. Argh, it’s so frustrating, because in everything, I just lack faith in God. Even after He’s answered a particular prayer. I’m not joking, it’s frustrating.
So, I haven’t really told people about it, although it might be encouraging. I’ve said something lame like, I started wearing long sleeve shirts and that helped. Although that still doesn’t make sense, because I was wearing long sleeve button downs the first two weeks here, when it started hurting a lot. Most accurately, I should say that there’s no logical explanation for why my wrists don’t hurt anymore. Seriously, it just makes no sense. So, I was encouraged by that.
Anyway, based on that sample set of one, I started thinking, kind of jokingly, maybe I have the gift of physical healing. Jieun’s really into inner healing, so if I could do outer healing, between the two of us, we’ve got everything covered. Maybe our kids could handle mezzanine healing.
At any rate, a few weeks ago, I decided to start praying for Dave’s hands. Not too seriously, and not even very consistently at all. But, it was on my mind. Just because of my experience.
Which is why I was blown away when he wrote that his hands aren’t hurting as much anymore. And you know, there’s probably a reason for it. But regardless, it’s an answered prayer. I prayed for something, and it happened, and it doesn’t really matter how it happened. I don’t know, I was literally blown away when I read that.
So, I’m still a man of wussy faith, and I’m still afraid both my wrists and Dave’s hands are going to hurt again, so I was even afraid to write all this. But regardless, I think I learned a lesson. Pray for everything, and be specific. It can never hurt, and in the worst case (which isn’t that bad) God will change my heart. And in the best case, God will answer those specific prayers. And that’s just a really encouraging thing to see.
I still can’t escape the thoughts that my wrists and his hands will hurt again. But that doesn’t really matter. God did in fact answer my prayer. And what happens now should not influence how I approach prayer.
So, this might sound lame, but my wrists not hurting and Dave’s hands hurting less have revolutionized my prayer life. Just, to pray specifically and with faith. Also, if you’re reading this and parts of your body are hurting, let me know, because I have this theory I want to test.