For Christians, the concept of prayer is a no-brainer. It’s what we do as an expression of our faith.
But what is the power of prayer? All people of faith believe in it, but how do we know if it works? That in itself is an act of faith, because we can’t prove it works…or can we?
In March this year, Claire*, the 15-year-old daughter of an old school friend of mine, Amanda*, was critically injured in a car accident in rural Victoria. Her injuries were so severe we didn’t know if she would live or die.
At the Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) Claire was put into an induced coma and Amanda relocated to Melbourne to be at her daughter’s side.
I knew there was nothing I could do to change Claire’s situation, but what could I do to help?
I could pray.
Each day I asked God to keep Claire in his heart and care for her family.
When I told Amanda I was praying for Claire and her family, she was very touched and grateful.
So I took it one step further—my church has a stand with prayer candles so I lit one for Claire, and prayed for her. Then I hit on the idea of quietly taking a photograph of Claire’s candle after church, and posting it regularly on Amanda’s Facebook page to let people know she was being prayed for.
I was amazed at the number of ‘likes’ this post always got from a huge range of people!
I never missed a day of praying for Claire, and after several weeks of the induced coma Claire was allowed to slowly wake. The journey was fraught with setbacks, but gradually she did wake up, but wasn’t able to speak. Eventually, after a few months, she whispered to Amanda, ‘Am I speaking yet?’
Since that day, she has gone from strength to strength. After five months, she has returned home and plans to go back to school next term. And she successfully auditioned for the chorus in the next local music theatre group production!
Claire’s story is a living example of the power of prayer. When we can do nothing, we can pray and carry her in our hearts, and ask God to care for her.
The other day Amanda said to me, ‘We are grateful for the power of prayer. There are lots of difficult cases at the RCH and all wish for miracles but we feel blessed and supported.’
Whenever I have offered to pray for someone in need, even if they are atheists or agnostics, my offer is never refused. When people are in need, being kept in the hearts and minds of others can only help, and perhaps Christians have a responsibility to show faith on behalf of those who can’t.
‘Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything: tell God your needs, and don’t forget to thank him for his answers’ (Philippians chapter 4, verse 6).
*First names used to protect identity