When we don't know how to pray
21/11/2016 14:45:06 GMT Written by David Hathaway
Diagnosed with throat cancer in 1964, I faced a crisis in my life. I found myself constantly praying the same thing: "O God, I know You can heal, because of all the evidence in Your Word, as well as the other miracles which I have seen with my own eyes. But ... the problem is ... You can ... if You want to ... is it Your will to heal me? All I am asking for is a positive yes or no."
Eventually I took what seemed a rather dangerous and difficult decision. But strangely, I felt a sense of real peace in my mind when I had done it. I now prayed clearly and positively: "O God, show me Your definite will and plan for my life. If You want me to remain as a pastor, which would seem to most people the obvious thing, then do not heal me, let things take their natural course and let me face the operation and all that may follow without any intervention. But if You definitely want me to give up the security of my pastorate and become a full-time evangelist and missionary to Russia and Eastern Europe, with all its uncertainties, then I ask You to intervene and interrupt the natural course of this disease by completely and miraculously healing me."
My prayers became simple: 'Tell me if it is Your will to intervene and heal me or not." It was a cold wintry day in December when I reached this point, a Wednesday as I recall. There was still no answer, but the final appointment with the specialist was the next day. Five o'clock in the evening found me on my knees in my bedroom. If only I could know positively what the will of God was, I felt, I would be satisfied. In desperation I turned to a promise box, pulled out one of the little slips of paper and read Romans 8:28, "All things work together for good to those who love God." "No," I cried, "that isn't what I want, I know that already. All I am asking for is a positive yes or no." I picked up my Bible and looked up the verse in its context. I read from verse 26, "We know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit himself maketh intercession for us ... according to the will of God." That was it! It came with certainty to me that God had said yes. I would be healed by a miracle.
The next morning, I looked forward eagerly to my appointment with the specialist. He put various instruments down my throat, examined me for a long time and very carefully, before turning to me with a serious expression. "I can't understand what has happened," he said, "but the growth has gone. There is a scar there as though it had been cut out with a knife. Well, your faith has been vindicated."
If you are in a difficult situation and you don't know how to pray about it, be encouraged as you either listen to the podcast or watch the video. To subscribe to the weekly podcasts on iTunes click here.