Just speaking personally, what amazes me about Miss Clara’s prayer is how quickly she goes from telling God how good He is to affirming how mighty God is.
With all my heart, I believe that God is good. I know he wants good for his children and that he is with the afflicted.
But I confess, it’s hard for me to say with the same conviction that Miss Clara does: “You are mighty.” I feel like I’m more likely to cry out: “God, I know you are good, show me how mighty you are and do something for the afflicted.” There’s just so much I want God’s power to correct: Wars, cancers, injustice, and so forth.
My prayer this morning went something like this: “God, I have a blog post to write. I want to keep Bible journaling my way through this prayer. I have to write something about your might and I’m at a loss as to what to say. Open my eyes to your power.”
I’ve been doing my best today. I sang “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” and “The Same Power” by Jeremy Camp. I was blessed to see my minister today and talk with some friends at church. I asked for their thoughts on God’s might. I shared my struggle briefly.
My friends reminded me that it was God who created this universe; it was God who brought the Israelites out of Egypt with a mighty hand; it was God who sent His son to die on the cross for our sins; and God who raised Jesus from the dead. One of my friends offered that God showed mighty restraint in standing back at the time of the crucifixion.
My minister reminded me that God allowed Jesus to suffer and die on the cross, and this knowledge alone should lay to rest all my other concerns. God did not spare Jesus from suffering. It was not what Jesus deserved.
Somebody once told me that if you are struggling with the power of God, just read Job, chapters 38 through 41, the great monologue of God, where God retells the whole story of creation. I started there and found myself drawn to Job’s response…
Then I found a verse about the Exodus from Egypt. As I worked on this page, I recalled a visit I had with the pastor of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in town. I was delicately trying to ask about the picture at the front of his church. It’s a larger than life painting of a black man praying, kneeling over a rock. Immediately, I saw Jesus praying in the garden of Gethsemane and the pastor said, “Yes, that’s Jesus.” Enthusiastically, he went onto tell me that it was Jesus who brought his people out of slavery and led the Civil Rights movement. It was easy to believe in the might of God as I listened to him tell the role that God played in our country’s history.
When St. Paul talks of the power of God, he most often refers to the resurrection. Of all the wonders God has performed, I’m convinced with St. Paul that the resurrection is the greatest. In that moment, God claims victory over sin and death. The third verse of “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” comes to mind: “The Prince of Darkness grim, we tremble not for him;/His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure,/One little word shall fell him.” As I searched through Paul’s writings on the power of God, this passage spoke to me. Paul acknowledges that too often, we set our expectations regarding God’s power far too low.
After talking with friends at church, I thought I had my post all planned out. I just needed to make sure I covered creation, the Exodus story, and the resurrection. This would cover God as mighty!
Under the be careful what you pray for category: Later in the evening, I went to WalMart to pick up some cat litter. In the petfood aisle, my four-year-old daughter burst out into song. At the top of her lungs, she started belting: “There Is Power” by Lincoln Brewster. It was playing on the radio on the car ride over, but I didn’t give it much attention. My daughter kept repeating the chorus: “There is power in the name of Jesus”. No amount of shushing by her brother would make her stop.
I thought of my prayer from earlier in the day, how I asked to know God’s power better, and felt my heart smile.
A lady stopped me and asked, “What is she singing?” And I said, “There’s power in the name of Jesus.” The lady said, “Well, she’s right! Sing on girl.” All I can say is: Out of the mouth of babes!
My prayer for the night:
God you created the universe and yet you became small enough to be held in the arms of Mary. Forgive us when we make you small and fail to trust your might. You can do all things and no purpose of yours will be thwarted. Thank you for your mighty hand and outstretched arm through all of history. You are mighty to save, and nowhere is your saving power made more clear than in the death and resurrection of your son, Jesus Christ. In the powerful name of Jesus, AMEN!