So many things seem to swirl around my head in the morning. Did my sons let the dogs out? Did the dogs get fed? Did my sons eat breakfast? Did their homework get done? Do they have any papers to sign before school?
Now most of these questions don’t get asked out loud; I just look around for the evidence of the breakfast dishes, socks on their feet, backpacks closed, etc. But some of the things that run through my mind are unable to be answered just by looking. Some things require faith. “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see,” Hebrews 11:1.
As I have said before we pray for the day before the boys get on the bus. My brother-in-law is back safely from Afghanistan, but my friend’s son is not; so we pray for Bobby.
My mother-in-law just went through a bilateral mastectomy after her breast cancer came back, so we pray for her healing. Two friends are watching their fathers fight for their lives because of cancer. So we pray.
We also pray for family and friends who are pregnant or have recently delivered. For two of the moms this pregnancy is their first, so we’ve prayed for an easy delivery; for another there are complications and her sweet, unborn, baby girl has spina bifida and will have surgery the day after she is born. We are praying for steady hands and great wisdom for the doctors.
My sons pray for their dad. His job environment is less than ideal and our younger son prays for his dad to be appreciated at work. Our oldest prays that Dad will have a good day at work.
All of these requests matter. They matter to the people we are praying for, the people matter to us, but even more importantly, they matter to God. The people matter and the prayers matter. And that makes all the difference.
In the Old Testament Tabernacle there were six items that God told the Israelites to make for the inside of the Tabernacle. The Altar of Sacrifice was the first item the Israelites would see when they entered the East Gate. The next item was the basin where the priests would cleanse themselves before entering into the Holy Place.
In the Holy Place there were three items; the lampstand, the Table of the Bread of Presence, and the Altar of Incense. The Altar of Incense was just before the curtain that led into the Holy of Holies. The Holy of Holies had the Ark of the Covenant, where God’s presence hovered.
The Altar of Incense was representative of the prayers of the Israelites. The very smell of the Incense, the very prayers of the Israelites, were lifted up to God.
Those prayers mattered to God then and they matter to God now. My prayers rise to Heaven, where my Heavenly Father hears them and responds to them. My prayers matter because the people I am praying for matter to God. I matter to God. You matter to God.
My prayers have been answered again and again when someone is healed from illness. My prayers have been answered when God decides that the healing He is going to give to someone is a Heavenly healing, not an earthly one. My prayers have been answered when God has said, “no” and my prayers have been answered when God has said, “yes”, and my prayers have been answered when God has said, “wait.”
Prayer matters. It is not important to pray with flowery words in a tranquil setting. I am certain God answers prayers in the middle of battlefields. I am also certain that God will answer the prayers of my sons, as well as mine.
That certainty is what keeps me going back to the Holy Place to offer my prayers before a Mighty God Who wants to hear my heart and wants me to know that what I say matters.
I’ll say it again; Prayer Matters.