When You Need a New Prayer

Guest Blog: Taylor K. Arthur ... originally blog posted 30 May 2014, Red Vine Spirituality

Jesus stopped and called them.

What do you want me to do for you?” he asked. Lord,” they answered, “we want our sight.” Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him".     - Matthew 20:32-34

I use to demand healing. I held my god–my little I-follow-the-rules-and-play-your-games-god–captive within my throbbing heart. I shook my fists and bled and stumbled in the darkness of a new medicated, drugged-into-sanity life. I focused on what wasn’t being granted me, who had wronged me, what I–and here’s that nasty word–


But healing didn’t come. I grew tired of my dark, throbbing heart.

Somewhere in those haunted years, I found a new prayer. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to be healed anymore, or that I believed He could not heal me. Rather, I started to wonder if that was the point of my illness at all? When we stick God to such a black and white as healing in the physical, we halt our ability to see how the God of the universe may use all things for His good. We plant our feet in the dirt of the flesh and refuse to see with soul eyes.

In the flesh, I couldn’t imagine how God could redeem my sins committed, my years wasted, my mind ruined. I defined myself by who I had been, with no vision of who I could be. Then, one day, I changed my prayer and asked for something new:

Will you just use me, Lord, so my life isn’t just a big waste and disappointment?
Will you help me see where you would have me serve?

I didn’t have to be smart or important anymore. I didn’t have to finish school. I could babysit my cousins. I could smile at the minivan mom coming through the drive thru for a moment of caffeinated sanity. I could love and serve exactly where I had been planted, overweight and broke and barely capable of reading.

Just months later, I was working as a chaplain intern when I received a page to pray with a mental patient in the same mental health unit I had been a patient in. I could barely speak, so overcome with awe at this dramatic reversal. But I managed to tell her this:

I was here, too.
I thought my life was over
and I would never
do good,
be good
I thought God had forgotten me,
forsaken me,
thrown me out in the pig pen.

But this is the truth,
the truth that rings louder
than any label
any transgression
any diagnosis: 
YOU ARE A CHILD OF GOD and there is purpose in your every breath.

Ten years later, I stand in a Starbucks parking lot visiting with one of my dear friends who fasted and prayed for our Sam when his diagnosis offered us zero hope. She hovers above the back window of her car to keep an eye on her little baby “eating” through a g-tube because his heart is too weak for him to drink from a bottle. We talk doctors, meds, compare notes, worry about side effects.

She looks at me, and says, “Ya know, I have just always prayed for Sam and your family. And I wonder if all that time God was preparing me?”

I wonder through my travels with Sam, down roads of med reactions and surgery and hospital stays, if God was preparing me to meet my friend that afternoon in that parking lot?

I wonder if all of my struggles with meds, bed-rest, magnesium, didn’t prepare me to love and understand Sam better?

Maybe when we see with His sight, we can see it all coming together for SO MUCH MORE GOOD?

"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose . . . No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us".       - Romans 8:28,37

The more I pray to be used by God for his purposes, the more I SEE my prayers answered. The more I see, the more this scarred -up heart fills with grace and heals with meaning.

Pray with me, see Him answer.

Taylor Arthur