Praying

Blog Post by the Rev. Dr. Craig Howard
Presbytery of Giddings-Lovejoy Transitional Leader
choward@glpby.org

 


A good friend, my best friend, found himself and his family in a bit of trouble. He asked if I would pray for him. I was so touched by the circumstance I prayed and prayed hard. I’m not talking about him being “in my thoughts and prayers,” I’m talking about old fashioned get-down-on-my-knees, petition the throne of God, and resist the devil praying! I went back to my Pentecostal roots and called upon the name of the Lord like I haven’t done in a while.

I received a call yesterday from my friend. The worst has come upon him and his family. My prayers did not stop the calamity.

I feel heartbroken and sad. I’ve been tearful since I received the news. And I am still prayerful.

It seems my excellent theological education and my role as Transitional Presbytery leader does not make me immune to the struggles of being a Christian; struggles of learning what it means to walk with God.

I believe the core purpose of each congregation is to make disciples. This means making sure the Word of God is truly preached and heard, and sacraments are properly administered and received. It also means living in community and sharing our joys and concerns. Becoming a disciple means constantly letting go of the simple notion of God as the provider of our wishes and dreams, and instead, embracing the Christ who suffered and died while doing God’s will.

This is a lesson I learn repeatedly. It is learning to trust God, while not tempting God. It is being a co-creator with Christ, working and serving to change the world. It means listening for the move of the Holy Spirit, and being willing to stop when the Spirit says stop, and go when the Spirit says go.

May the God of all consolation, comfort those in time of tribulation, even my best friend. Amen.

Rev. Craig M. Howard

15 Responses to “Praying”

  1. Paul Reiter, HR on

    Dear Craig – Thanks so much for sharing about the efficacy of prayer. Trusting and being a disciple – they go hand in hand. Thanks for your blog each week and I remain prayerful for your friend as well.

    Reply
  2. Charles Pfeifer on

    Craig, I had a similar experience when my sister was dying from cancer. Thank you for sharing this reflection. Chuck

    Reply
  3. Eldon McKie on

    Dear Craig… I’m not pietistic, but I just uttered a prayer for you and your friend enduring major challenges. And it was kneel by my bed prayer — I often experience more depth in prayer when kneeling. I’m with your circle of friends and colleagues, today.

    May you be sustained in your continuing work for our Presbytery. May you and your close friend find strength even though life is not responding the way you prayed it would. May your friend find comfort and hope knowing that others surround them with concern and compassion. May the blessings of God which seem opaque and absent right now find a way to break through in a future entrusted to the Lord. All of this is so much to ask, but maybe tucked into our minds and hearts is the assurance that God’s steadfast love endures forever and his faithfulness to all generations.

    Best to you, Eldon

    Reply
    • Craig Howard on

      Eldon,
      Thank you for your encouraging prayer. I especially like the line, “May the blessings of God which seem opaque and absent right now find a way to break through in a future entrusted to the Lord.” My hope is in the Lord, maker of heaven and earth. Craig.

      Reply
  4. Sheila Mapes on

    I’m so sorry about your best friend, Craig.
    I like your message, which tackles the question of what we are to do when prayers are not answered. But it leaves me with one question. What do you mean by “not tempting God”? Who are we humans to think that we have the power to tempt God?
    Sheila Mapes

    Reply
  5. Dale Vandiver on

    My prayers are with both you, Craig, and for your friend. Thank you for
    sharing your thoughts and concerns with all of us in Presbytery. It is well to
    know of your openness to us to ask God for things that you really feel are important, and to know that together we all share God’s love.

    Reply
    • Craig Howard on

      Dale,
      Thanks. The response to this post by website and email has been overwhelming in compassion. The response speaks volumes about the care and love that resides in our presbytery. “And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love.” Craig.

      Reply
  6. Craig Howard on

    Shelia,
    Thank you for your question. I am referencing Jesus in the wilderness when Satan told him to throw himself off of the temple, and Jesus replied “Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.” (KJV). Jesus was referring to Deuteronomy 6:16, which was referring to Exodus 17:7! I believe tempting God is when we demand God to prove that God is God by performing an act, or preventing a calamity. Sometimes the answer is not for God to do something, but for us to have faith to endure the hardship, or until things change.
    And this is the delicate thin line I am referring to. When do we say we are suffering for Christ, and when do we say, “Enough is enough God, do something!” Thank God for grace!

    Reply
  7. Will Mason on

    Dr. Howard, (Craig)
    You are in my knee worn prayers.
    You remind me of a prayer circle Los Ranchos Presbytery tried years ago. I belonged to a surviving prayer circle of 4 pastors. The other presbytery wide circles had died of “not enough time.” My survivors were were liberal, conservative and moderate (me). We committed to two hours together each month. One hour was spent sharing what was going on in our lives. The next hour was spent on our knees, on the floor in a Sunday School room, praying for each other by name. It was probably the closest I ever got to my fellow presbyters.
    I’m on my knees for you and wish you God’s peace.

    Reply
  8. Craig Howard on

    Will,
    Thank you for your prayers. Craig.
    “The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.” James 5:16

    Reply
  9. Leslyn Spinelli on

    Dear Craig,
    I’ve been following your journey via Facebook and was pleased to come across a link to your new blog. This post, in particular, spoke to me! Thank you for sharing your wisdom and faith.
    Best to you and Marilyn,
    Leslyn

    Reply

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