“God… God… Dear Father in Heaven, I’m not a praying man, but if you’re up there and you can hear me, show me the way. I’m at the end of my rope. Show me the way, God.”
– George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life
George had lost $8000. If he didn’t find it, he’d go to jail. After all his efforts failed, he was in deepest despair, and he finally prayed. But only when he was at the end of his rope.
Are we all like that? We don’t pray until we’re desperate? Let’s look at some true scenarios:
- Floating at night in the middle of a lake during a storm, a family prays for deliverance
- A man is dying of cancer, and his family prays for his recovery
- A baby is born prematurely, and her mother prays continually over many months for her survival
- People in agony because of various addictions pray for release
- A high school boy is depressed and prays for answers
- Lonely people pray for comfort
Of course, the various people in these scenes may have prayed a great deal, perhaps daily, before they were in trouble, but surely the urgency in their prayers was multiplied many times when they knew God’s help was their only answer. And most likely God understands that. But will He answer those prayers?
Looking at the life experiences of many people we conclude that sometimes He answers and sometimes He doesn’t. Or perhaps, better said, He always answers, but sometimes the answer is not what we wanted. And perhaps also that is best. In George Bailey’s case, he thought God’s answer was a belt in the jaw, but what he really got was a chance to see what the world would be like if he’d never been born. And that made all the difference.
Intuitively, we know we don’t always get everything we ask for in prayer. People often die despite their prayers and those of their loved ones (for example, see Coping With Juanita’s Passing). We don’t always get the career or job we prayed for, and too many times the girl we love marries another guy. God intends our mortal education to include many hardships and setbacks.
But what about the addict or alcoholic praying with all his heart for release? Is God likely to say “No” to a sincere prayer for addiction recovery? Surely God wants us to live lives free of bondage from these terrible vices. On the other hand, release is not easy; we can’t just say a simple prayer and, bingo! we’re dry. No, these prayers must be repeated with the same or increasing urgency every day for months, and they must be combined with herculean personal striving. But despite this effort, or actually because of it, the addict’s final triumph is all the more joyous.
Truly understood, the process of prayer is a life-long endeavor that brings continuing rewards and comforts from life’s trials. The articles you will find here on prayer demonstrate that. We have many that chronicle people’s experience with prayer, showing that very often God does answer prayers for recovery, and even more often He will help the sincere seeker triumph over the bondage of addiction, depression, and loneliness. We hope you enjoy these:
Does God Answer Prayers? – A family lost at night in a lake
Answers to Prayers – A baby born prematurely
How Can I Overcome Sadness? – A high school boy struggling
God Saved My Father’s Life – Recovery from cancer
Does Prayer Make Life Easier? – A teen’s loneliness
And we have many more. Just click on “Prayer” on the menu and in the cloud.