A Devotion for 4 March 2021 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. 7But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. 8Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.”
(Matthew 6:5-8; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
There is an ancient legend of an event that took place between the Persian King Darius the Great, and the King of Lydia some 2,500 years ago. Darius had surrounded the city of Lydia and, after several pitched battles, demanded its surrender. The king of Lydia, realizing his circumstances hopeless, surrendered to the Persian King. In gratitude for the surrender, Darius offered the Persian king a gift of any amount he might request. Asking for an enormous fortune, the chief commander of the Persian forces took umbrage at the presumption of the Lydian king in asking such a treasure of Darius; but, Darius responded that the King of Lydia had actually paid him an enormous compliment in asking such a gift. Darius said, “A great king is able to give great gifts.” And so it is true whether fact or legend.
Recently, my wife, Debbie, began to experience breathing problems associated with her congestive heart condition. She became short of breath even at the least exertion. Undergoing a number of medical examinations, including a heart catheritization and stent, her cardiologist informed her that her heart was ‘globally weak’ and the mitral valve badly damaged so that it was unable to pump a sufficient flow of blood. This condition can be remedied with a valve replacement for someone with a stronger heart, but it was doubtful in the case of my wife. Even a mitral clip (temporary repair of the valve) was doubtful.
My wife’s cardiologist sent her to Grandview Hospital in Birmingham to undergo further test to include a breathing (Pulmonary Function Test) test and a transesophageal echo test. These were intended to determine if my wife’s mitral valve could be repaired by a surgical technique at which her Birmingham physician specialized. We asked for prayers that this might be possible.
Facing the possible loss of the most important person in my life, I prayed that God might spare her so that I would continue to have her strong presence beside me in life and in the ministry. I prayed that her heart might be strong enough to undergo the repair process – and asked others to pray likewise.
After waiting what seemed an endless eternity in the waiting room as the tests were conducted, I was called into the clinic area to be briefed with my wife concerning the cardiologist’s findings. He was a young physician (Dr. Bernal) from Colombia, South America, and was very kind and obviously highly qualified in informing us of the results of the tests.
We were speechless at the results. Dr. Bernal told us that he was surprised at the remarkable improvement in the efficiency of my wife’s heart performance since her earlier procedure in hospital at Dothan (two weeks prior). He told us that my wife’s heart was not required to work as heard since her cardiologist had implanted a stent on that previous hospitalization, and there seemed to be no necessity for further surgery at all. She only needed an annual examination to insure all was proceeding normally.
God has not answered our prayer according to our asking in this case. We had asked that my wife’s heart be strong enough for further surgery, but God answered that further surgery was not even necessary! God never heals halfway. In every case related in Scripture, the Lord always made the suppliant whole in every respect. This He did with my beloved wife.
What spiritual lesson did my wife and I learn from this experience? I learned to ask of the Lord a complete satisfaction of my needs and not to limit the arm of the Lord in granting the needs of my heart. He is a great and mighty Lord able to grant gifts of enormous value. Man can only grant so much relief from suffering, but God our Maker can fulfill every need with healing – complete healing! “And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” (Matthew 21:22)
In my prayers, I felt it presumptuous in asking too much of the Lord – only enough to make further surgery possible; but, He answered in such a manner as to humble me and make me ashamed of my lack of faith to ask for the greater gift. He made further surgery unnecessary!
“But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. 8 Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.” (Matthew 6: 7-8)
God knew the needs of our heart better than we knew – even BEFORE we prayed!
There were many who were so kind as to pray for my wife – thousands in fact from around the world. This, too, was humbling to Debbie and me. Many of those who prayed also need prayer for their own needs; yet, they took time to pray for a lady many have never met but consider a sister in Christ. Thank you!
May God give us the greater faith to bring our needs and petitions to Him without holding back. We can go boldly before the Throne of His Grace expecting our needs to be His will to provide though our desires may go without satisfaction. He knows our NEEDS and can decipher between those NEEDS and our mere DESIRES.
A great worry has been lifted from my heart and I now feel strengthen in body and soul to continue with renewed energy in the work of the Lord and with my beloved wife by my side. Thank you, Lord Jesus Christ!
hank you, Lord Jesus Christ!