How many times do we say it and really, really mean it?
We utter this sentence like “give-away samples” handed out by mall merchandisers on a busy Sunday afternoon. We text it. We email it. During birthdays. Anniversaries. Wakes.
“I will pray for you…” we often say.
But very few really do.
Or maybe it’s just me. Shame on me accusing you of what I am most guilty of. But last Tuesday was an eye-opener for me — like a cold shower, a real wake-up call.
Our one-year old son Franco began to have a fever accompanied by cough and cold on Sunday afternoon. By Monday, he started to lose his appetite. By Tuesday, the fever didn’t cease and he began to grow steadily weaker. On our way to the doctor, Jeng began texting our brothers and sisters in Ligaya ng Panginoon, our Catholic Community. I also texted my friends from other prayer groups asking for their prayers. Pretty soon, messages from well-wishers promising us of their prayers flooded our inbox. And we took comfort in these assurances from our friends.
Jeng and I were a little pessimistic. We looked at Franco’s condition and we were almost sure the doctor would insist that we admit him in the hospital. And yet, looking back today, I remember that there was a glimmer of hope behind the gloom which accompanied us to the clinic that day. Somehow, we felt a certain assurance deep in our hearts that things will turn out fine.
True enough, the doctor prescribed a list of medicines for Franco but allowed us to bring him home. No emergency rooms. No tests. No admission. But that was just the first miracle.
The next 24 hours were an amazing display of God’s action. As soon as Franco took the meds, he was able to sleep and rest at home. His incessant coughing, for some reason didn’t bother him. He woke up a few hours later with a smile and was in a jolly mood to play with Jeng. He even ventured to go down from the bed and play with his sisters. A few more hours passed and Franco started to dance again with his favorite “Hi-5” video. We shook our heads in utter amazement at the unexpected surge of energy in Franco. The next day, his appetite returned. And Franco, at his age, is already legendary when it comes to gobbling food. The fever did not return. The smiles were back. Except for some mild coughing, Franco was back to his normal self.
So how do you explain Franco’s healing in less than twenty-fours?
Some will call it “the wonders of modern medicine”. Others will refer to it as the “healing love of family”. For me, I label it simply as the “underrated power of prayer”.
Prayer is power.
When sincere hearts turn to the Lord, holy hands lifted in worship and petitions uttered in faith, God moves. And when God moves, the earth trembles. Governments are toppled. Cancer cells defeated. Broken relationships miraculously restored.
Today, I thank those who prayed for Franco not only for his healing but also for the lesson learned. My perspective of how important prayer really is has been radically changed. Not that I don’t believe in prayer before. I do. But I believe now in its power more than ever.
So the next time I utter the phrase, “I will pray for you”, I will remember that people really expect me to do so. And so I will bend my knees and raise my voice to heaven. It will not just be a mechanical exercise of Christian duty but a real crusade for the fulfillment of God’s good and perfect will for His beloved.
May you do the same.