BY THE REV. DR. CLAY FORGE
There was a very troubled time in my life when all I had was desperate prayer. Desperate prayer is the prayer you pray when there is no one else to turn to. If God doesn’t intervene for you, you’ll go up a stream without a paddle, canoe, or life jacket.
The details of this painful period of my life are not important. The truth was that I had made a series of bad decisions, each of which had a cumulative effect. I thought I was managing everything until my illusion of control collapsed. That’s when my prayers went from superficial to desperate.
I think it works that way for most of us. We think we have life under control. We especially pray that God keeps our small illusions of control intact. I think God drops our trick of self-deception because the kindest form of love is truth.
There was no simple solution to my situation, no magic sitcom solution. God would need to change people and change me. I felt guilty asking for his help because I knew I had created my own problems. Yet there was no alternative.
I realize that I am forgetting a lot of things, but over the course of several weeks God changed people. God changed me. Circumstances have changed. Things fell into place. I didn’t dodge a bullet; I was saved from a shell with my name on it. As the situation resolved, I remember praying again and again, “Thank you, God, thank you.
It was only recently that I realized that God had done a miracle for me. There were no flashing lights, no voices from heaven. But something supernatural happened. God has manifested himself in a way that I never thought possible. The ancient words of Isaiah had come true: “When you cross the waters, I will be with you…” The miracle of God’s presence may be the quietest miracle of all, but it is not. least a miracle for his restraint. .
Miracles are not just healing events. Every child born is a miracle. Marriages that last are miracles. Empowered children are miracles.
Moses parted the waters, but God always opens a way for you through obstacles. Jesus helped Peter get the catch of his life, but Jesus always opens doors of opportunity for you.
Some of my brothers and sisters in Christ are more comfortable asking for miracles. The crowd I’m running with seems so scared that God won’t send a miracle that they’re afraid to ask for one. Billy Graham once said he thought heaven would be full of miracles no one asked for. This comment reminds me to ask God to send all the miracles I can handle my way.
Perhaps a good first step for you is to pray that God will open your eyes to the miracles around you. Ask God to show you what He has already done for you. An old hymn still echoes in my memory: “Count your blessings, name them one by one; Count your blessings, see what God has done…” A blessing is a miracle by another name.
Never confuse miracles with orders. We ask for miracles; we don’t give orders to God. We trust in what God will do. Why does God sometimes give the miracle and sometimes not? We do not know. We only know that God wants the best for each person. Working with billions of people and their agency to do what is right requires a mind greater than mine. I hope God knows what’s best for everyone involved, even if it doesn’t seem the best to me.
We live in a world that needs miracles. We need a miracle to bring our country together. We need miracles to protect our children from all kinds of threats. We need a miracle to stop a war that is disturbing the whole world.
I need, you need, we need personal miracles. We need the miracle of joy to bring hope every day. We need the miracle of peace so as not to lose faith in the face of turmoil. We need the miracle of love to help us love those who persecute us or even those who annoy us deeply.
Desperate prayers are about the miracles we need. Believe that God can do the impossible. Pray for his will to be done. Pray for miracles, big and small, to be done. Desperate times call for great miracles.