“From the Hart” Devotional for Oct. 26, 2023

“Praying with Confidence”
by Julie Hart, Director of Connectional Ministries

This is the confidence that we have in our relationship with God: If we ask for anything in agreement with his will, he listens to us. 

1 John 5:14

It was a spring day in 1996. Having just returned from my grandfather’s funeral in Idaho, I woke up from a nap to get ready for work lying in a pool of blood. A newlywed, I was in the second trimester of my first pregnancy. I shook on the drive to the hospital where I was met with an overworked and under-graced ER nurse who, after a rushed examination, matter-of-factly informed me that I was having a miscarriage. She told me that they were very busy that day and it would probably be a long time before a doctor could see me and refused to allow my husband to come and sit with me. With that, she handed me a bedpan that she instructed me to use to “catch all of the parts” closed the curtain and walked away. I had never felt as empty and terrified as I did in that moment.

Still in shock, I sat holding the bedpan thinking how I had done everything right. I had eaten what I was supposed to eat, and not eaten what I wasn’t supposed to eat. I followed my What to Expect When You Are Expecting book to the letter. How could this be happening to me? I can remember feeling ice cold (now I understand it was shock) and trying not to make too much noise as I cried. Tears streamed down my cheeks as I gripped the metal bedpan with my trembling hands. And then the curtain opened and a woman who was a patient in the next bed stood there. She was an older woman who looked as if she had lived a very hard life. I don’t know what brought her to the emergency room that day, but she didn’t seem to be concerned about herself. She approached my bed and let me know that she had heard what the nurse had said to me, and she wondered if it would be okay if she prayed for me. I am embarrassed to say that it had not occurred to me to pray myself that day. I do not remember the words that she said as she prayed, but I can still remember the feeling of peace that came over me as she spoke. Once finished, she squeezed my hand, told me I was going to be okay, and returned to her bed.

Eventually, I was seen by the doctor and was able to hear my baby’s heartbeat. When I was released, I went out to the waiting room where my husband was waiting for me. He said that a woman had walked up to him and told him that his wife and baby were going to be just fine, and he asked me who she was. I told him that I hadn’t gotten her name but that she was an angel. He asked how she knew I was her husband. I had never told her what he looked like, yet somehow, she knew.

For the next 5 months, I went on to have a difficult pregnancy and complicated delivery where both my baby and my life were at risk. And yet, I had peace. All because an angel had been sent to pray for me and assure me that everything was going to be okay.

A few questions for you to think about this week:

Pastor David preached on Sunday about how the Holy Spirit prompts us to pray. I believe that the angel at UMC Hospital was prompted by the Holy Spirit to pray for me when I didn’t have the strength or words to pray for myself. When is a time that the Holy Spirit prompted you to pray for a stranger? How did it turn out?

1 John 5:14 talks about praying with confidence. What helps you to pray with confidence when you talk to God?

Pastor David said that there is no wrong way to pray. Is this a concept that you have understood your entire life, or have you been restricted in your understanding of prayer in the past?

Finally, how might God be calling you to be in prayer? There are many ways to be involved in prayer at Desert Spring: The confidential prayer team that prays over prayer cards from the pews, Stephen Ministers who pray after service, text prayers, prayer requests sent out through the prayer chain, or just offering prayer for someone who looks like they could use it. Remember, there is no wrong way to pray. Just pray!

Join me in praying the prayer that Pastor David wrote for all of us to lift up to God daily:

Pastor David’s Prayer:
God of new beginnings, give us eyes to see your many gifts, hearts to embrace each other, and hands to serve you every day of our lives.
Strengthen the bond of love that unites us. Weaken our grip on all that keeps us from serving you faithfully.
This we pray in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.