Hannah was barren and was provoked to tears by her husband’s other wife. In her misery, Hannah turned to the Lord and prayed because of her “great anguish and grief” (1 Samuel 1:16). God heard her prayer and answered her request for a child.
Elijah received a threat from Jezebel, became afraid, and ran for his life. He actually prayed that he might die because he “had enough” and was feeling sorry for himself. But the Lord sent an angel to feed and strengthen him, and later encouraged him personally (1 Kings 19:1-8).
King Hezekiah became ill and received his death notice. He “wept bitterly” because he didn’t want to die yet. Hezekiah prayed for himself with hope, and God saw his tears and heard his prayer, and added fifteen years to his life (2 Kings 20:1-6).
The prophet Habakkuk didn’t understand and complained to the Lord about Israel’s enemies being allowed to harm His people, and the Lord answered his questions (Habakkuk 1-2).
These God-fearing people struggled emotionally and talked to the Lord, who graciously helped them. God hasn’t changed and is still the same now as He was then (Malachi 3:6). Remembering this should help us today when we struggle.
Immediately after my total knee replacement, I developed an intestinal problem and was sick to my stomach. I simply could not eat. After a week of intense pain and unable to take any medicine, plus feeling weak and nauseous with no sign of improvement, I started to cry. To get distracted from my pity party, I logged onto Facebook and a video post appeared. A pastor talked about being the last (of four leaders of different religions) to pray at a conference. He said that his prayer consisted of proclaiming how Jesus Christ was the only one who could give salvation and that there was power only in Jesus’ name when praying.
Upon hearing those words about Jesus’ powerful name, I rose from my chair and started complaining to the Lord. With my arms fully extended in the air (thinking that would get God’s attention), my voice cried aloud to Him. (My dog thought I was nuts, whimpered, and watched me from a distance.) I verbalized my frustration, “I DO believe in the power of Jesus’ name! I DO believe He has the power to heal me! Why aren’t You helping me? I prayed for a surgery without complications; why are You choosing for me to have all these problems?”
As I was expressing my disappointment over my medical ailments, I started sobbing. With my arms still stretched out, I finished venting and reiterated my faith in Jesus Christ, and acknowledged my dependence on Him. I understood that sometimes His answer is no. But I reminded Him of His teaching the disciples to keep on praying persistently. So I was praying again for His help. I begged Him to take away the queasiness and to heal my body. And I ended that prayer by saying very deliberately, “I pray this in the powerful name of Jesus Christ my Lord, Amen.”
About three seconds later, my sickly nauseous feeling disappeared. It was so sudden and noticeable that the tears flowed again, but with relief, joy, and thanksgiving. I felt so much better that I was able to eat and keep the food down.
“The Lord is near to all who call on him” (Psalm 145:18). According to John 9, Jesus told His disciples that infirmities happen “so that the work of God might be displayed” in one’s life. David wrote, “Come and listen, all you who fear God; let me tell you what he has done for me” (Psalm 66:16).
The power of prayer isn’t in the one who says it, but the One who hears it. The Lord is so gracious and compassionate. What has He done for you? Have you told others? “I will praise you, O Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonders” (Psalm 9:1).