The “power of prayer” is a phrase heard regularly in the Christian community. And, there are many in the disability community that look to the power of prayer for healing or relief from their disability. But when they come to the end of their prayer unchanged, what then?
The Bible tells us that God’s attentive eye sees even the little sparrow that falls from a tree (Rom. 10:29-31). So, why does it sometimes seem like the Lord is blind to our anguish? Many people conclude that there is no God. Others say He turns a deaf ear to peoples’ desperate petitions or that He isn’t loving. How do we justify the truth we know from Scripture and the reality set before us?
George Mgoola is a paraplegic living in Malawi. He provides a beautiful perspective on prayer and suffering. George wasn’t born with his disability, but contracted poliomyelitis as a child, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down. He has lived in a wheelchair for most of his life. Here is his outlook on prayer:
I discovered prayer is… the oxygen of our spiritual lives. Every time I see someone with a disability, I am reminded of Simon of Cyrene who was forced to carry the cross of Jesus… Look at your disability as the heavy cross and yourself as Simon of Cyrene. Simon did not carry the heavy cross all the way… because Christ had carried it much of the way. Is it not a blessing to partake in carrying the cross with Christ?
So often, we look at our burdens only from the perspective of suffering. The pain and anguish we experience can overwhelm our senses and emotions. But prayer allows us to embrace God’s perspective on suffering. It is through prayer that we become more intimate with our God and He with us. He may not lift our burdens, but He is listening intently for our petitions. And as George reminds us, we must seek the blessing in our burden. “Today” says George, “I challenge you to take your disability to Christ and see what He will turn it into.” Let us all accept that challenge, no matter what our burden looks like or how we are suffering. I am confident the Lord will bless us in that process.
If you are suffering and worn down with burdens, we would love the opportunity to pray with you. You can leave a comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to our prayer sheet.
Rachel Roleder serves as the Manager of the Cause 4 Life, Global Missions and Internships Department at Joni and Friends. Rachel enjoys learning more of God’s design for His church as she leads teams of interns on disability ministry outreaches all over the world.