“Prayer warrior” — as you read that phrase, there’s probably a person in your life that came to mind.
Most of us know at least one person we would consider a prayer warrior, someone who has seen God’s power and runs boldly to Him in prayer. Praying is second nature to them, like talking to a friend who is always nearby, and they are 100 percent confident their prayers will be answered. They are the kind of people you want in your corner when you’re facing a trial in your life.
Dave Earley is one of the major prayer warriors in my life, but prayer didn’t always come easy to him. In fact, when he faced the biggest storm of his life, his prayer life almost didn’t exist.
In this excerpt from my book, Why? Answers to Weather the Storms of Life, Dave allowed me to share his story. I hope it encourages you as it did me.
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Dave Earley is my good friend. We worked together at Liberty University during my battle with cancer. Dave was part of my support group … he was there for me. Some days, he even drove me to the hospital for my chemo treatments. He always kept my spirits up.
But on August 18, 1991, Dave was faced with his own trial, and his story illustrates the incredible power of constant prayer in our lives.
Dave woke up that morning in August with what he through was a serious case of the flu. He felt terrible with pain in his joints and muscles and a severe headache that just wouldn’t go away. But more symptoms began to invade his body. He became allergic to many normal things, experienced difficulty communicating, and had trouble sleeping.
Also, every afternoon, about the same time, his throat would become so sore he could hardly swallow. He lost over 18 pounds in just three weeks.
But the most debilitating was fatigue. He was exhausted 24 hours a day. It took all his strength just to make himself turn over in bed. Once, he couldn’t muster enough strength to walk to the bathroom, so he crawled.
He couldn’t play with his three children (all boys under the age of 5) and was forced to neglect his wife because it took all of his abilities to just take care of himself.
Dave suffered from guilt and pain for 10 months before he sought help. He was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Immune Deficiency Syndrome. Years later, he wrote about how he felt during the longest and most difficult days:
I was frustrated from being the slave of my pain and fatigue. I was frustrated because I was a goal-oriented person who was now unable to pursue any goal other than survival. I was frustrated because when I was home, I did not have the strength to get off the couch to play with my boys. I was frustrated because my fatigue was wearing my wife out.
But more than anything, I was frustrated with God. The only response I could get from Him was silence … blank, empty, hollow, deafening silence.
Day after day I asked for deliverance, for at least an explanation or at the very least, a time frame for my agony. (I looked in the Book of Job for a time frame. How long did he suffer? I even asked some of the best Bible scholars in the country that question and they all had the same answer: “The Bible does not say.”)
Yet, day after day, week after week, month after month, God said nothing. My illness stretched into years, yet on this issue I received only silence.
For a time, I prayed on diligently, an hour a day for months. Yet God was still silent. It felt like He had abandoned me and I did not even know why. My soul was dry and my heart broken. I hate to admit it, but eventually I reasoned that if God would no longer speak to me then I would not speak to Him, and for a period of weeks, I had almost no prayer life.
Being a Christian, Dave knew the way he was feeling was wrong. As children of God, we must talk to our Heavenly Father. Little by little, he began praying prayers of thanksgiving … then singing prayers of praise. He began to feel better.
Because he had been a child of God for a long time, Dave decided he couldn’t give up on Him now. So he began to tell God that even if he never got better, even if God never answered his prayers and never offered any explanation — he would always love Him.
After this, Dave miraculously began to get better.
Getting better has been a very slow process. It has been almost 12 years since I first got sick, and I still battle CFIDS every day. But I am still getting better. I exercise almost an hour a day. I run three miles, three times a week. My wife and I frequently take up to a 30-mile bike ride on my day off. And the pain is much better.
But even if I was not getting better, even if I got worse, God would still be worth my loyalty and love. I deserve eternal death, and He has given me eternal and abundant life. Even if He never said another thing to me, did another thing for me, gave another thing to me, He would still deserve all of the love and devotion I can give Him.
And one day I will be “all better.” When I say “better,” I mean “better!” I will walk the streets of heaven in a brand new, pain-free, tireless, non-allergic, glorious, incorruptible body. No more fatigue! No more weakness! No more exhaustion! No more pain! I not only will be “as good as I used to be,” but I will be much better than I ever imagined!
Dave discovered that prayer is our spiritual lifeline. Prayer gives us encouragement and hope.
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Prayer is one of the most powerful tools you have in your “storm survival kit” as a Christian. Whenever you face a trial in your life, run to God. When you are in the pit of despair and loneliness, He will always be there. You can always talk to Him!
He may not always answer all of your questions right away … just like He didn’t answer Dave when he asked, “When will it end?” But He will always answer your prayers according to His perfect will.
During my battle with cancer, the one question I continually cried out to God in prayer was “Why?” I didn’t learn the answer to that question until years later. Now that I have, I thank God for that time in my life, as painful as it was.
You can read about my journey to find that answer in my book, Why? Answers to Weather the Storms of Life. Hopefully, it will help you start finding some answers, too. Order your copy today for just $8.99.