I have been taught throughout my life that God hears all prayers. Ever since I was a child, I can remember my parents teaching me to pray and how important prayer is, because God is there and he hears us. However, I wonder sometimes if it doesn’t become so habitual and routine that communication with our creator becomes more of a rehearsal, repeating the same words daily, than it does sincere, well-thought-out conversation. And over time, as we grow older, sooner or later one surely has to ask, “Is someone really there? Does He really hear ALL of our prayers? Does He really know who I am? Does He know the pain and struggles I’m going through?”
I don’t claim to know all the answers to this. And I certainly am not a prophet, nor do I feel like I’m more special than anybody else. But I do believe I have at least a few experiences in my life that I can undeniably draw which address all questions above. I would like to share just one of those experiences with you today.
Allow me to preface by saying this: It seems to me, at least through my own personal experience, that my most sincere communication with God occurs when I am in need, or when I’m going through a major challenge, or when I ask for something really big and pray earnestly for an answer. This is tragic, especially for somebody who claims to have faith in a Heavenly Father who loves and hears us. Kind of hypocritical, but not uncommon amongst many “believers.”
So, back to my question; Is He really there? And what about the small, perhaps insignificant mumblings of prayer? What about my day-to-day routine activities? The small little weaknesses that I have? Does He hear prayers when I am not in a sacred place such as a church, temple or synagogue? Does He hear all of my request? What about the things that I’m grateful for, does He hear that as well? Does He know my every need? How close is He, really?
Back in 2001, on a beautiful spring April evening, I went out to feed some animals on our farm. Little did I know I would be communicating with God in such a manner that I had never done prior in my life. In a rather unfortunate accumulation of events, I found myself trapped underneath the 2000 pound bale of hay, with a broken neck and completely paralyzed from my chin down. My face now pinned against the steering wheel. My mouth was also pinned against the steering wheel, and the only air I could gather would enter and exit through my nose. So there I was, in one of those “desperate moments.” No one to witness the event that just transpired. There I was, sitting on a tractor with a massive bale of hay on top of me. Trapped! By myself in the middle of a field with animals all around. The nearest home a mile away. Nobody but me, and perhaps the faith of a seed that I could somehow survive this and be saved. So I used that seed of faith and began to communicate for forgiveness, mercy on my life and a second chance to be with my wife and children again, at whatever the price might be.
In the Bible there is a verse that goes like this, “…If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed…ye shall say by prayer and fasting…”. And so I did. I don’t recall exactly what I said; But I do know for a surety that it was said in my mind, fully conscious and aware of my surroundings, and the current circumstance numb, near death. “Please hear me, Great one. Forgive my stupidity. I don’t want to die yet. Shondell is just a mile away at the house. Please get her for me. Please help. I beg Thee. I promise to use this for good. Please, God, allow me to survive…” And that prayer was said over and over again for roughly 48 minutes.
I don’t know why some live, and others don’t. But I do know it is not because of lack of hearing ALL who call His name. I know He hears all requests. All gestures of gratitude. All pains and struggles; and He answers them according to His will and need for His purpose. This I believe.
I, whether you see it as fortunate or not, got to live. I asked for that. I am numb from the armpits down and have no use of hands and limited use of arms. I have lived like this for almost 14 years. Some would rather die than live a life like this. But I asked for this, and accompanied my petition to God that Spring day with a promise and commitment.
Today I am still married to that same beautiful girl. We’ve been together for 21 years. We have 4 children. And I live a life full of love, laughter and struggles. Prayer means so much more to me now. I pray more sincerely. More frequently. With less repetition. I try to simply communicate as best I can. He is there. He does hear me. And while I don’t always have my requests answered immediately or the way I’d like, I am comforted in knowing that I am becoming the person He knows I need to become to be with Him again soon.
“…If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed…”
It is my testimony that a Father above all hears you with the love and compassion of a father. And as a father should do, he will guide your path to serve an everlasting purpose.
-Chad L. Hymas