Sally Garner: ‘We pray because God works through people’

Published 3:48 pm Wednesday, January 25, 2023

About two weeks ago, Sally Garner got a call from her daughter who asked her to pray. Garner’s grandson, a 21-year-old with asthma, didn’t respond to his inhaler and was rushed to the emergency room.

“I don’t think the doctor thought he would make it,” Garner said. “They were saying things like ‘if we can save him, if the treatment works.’ ”

She texted her daughter the following prayer, “Father God, I thank you that You are faithful to your children. I thank you that the stripes you endured were for our healing….”

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Garner’s daughter reached out to her prayer group. Garner reached out to hers, believing what the Bible says about prayer. Prayer groups prayed in specific ways based on reports of the young man’s needs communicated by the doctors, “praying in agreement and encouraging one another.” Nurses prayed.

At first her grandson’s condition improved. Then it declined, and he had to be intubated. After 12 days in the hospital, he was finally released.

“He’s weak and he will need physical therapy to recover his strength, but overall he’s fine,” Garner said.

Some of the nurses told Garner that her grandson broke some of the hospital records for recovery. But was it the result of prayer?

Garner, a woman of faith, defines prayer as  “communication with God through the Holy Spirit and God communicating back in different ways.”

 She shared I John 5:14-15, “Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us; whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.” Garner pointed to more scripture as a way to understand God’s will. She noted how Jesus healed everyone who came to him, and she believes her grandson was healed “because God has a calling on his life.”

Garner didn’t sound like a woman who thought she had all the answers. She did sound like she thought God’s word, the Bible, did, as the mention of different scriptures indicate.

“Sometimes prayer can feel like staring out at an ocean and waiting for it to open up,” she said.

That’s a line she heard someone else say in regard to prayer, and it refers to the story in Exodus about the parting of the Red Sea. Here’s the setting, (very loosely paraphrased and summarized).

 As soon as the Israelites saw the Egyptians in pursuit, they were ready to return to a life of bondage. When Moses told them, “The Lord shall fight for you, and you shall hold your peace,” Moses, the Israelites and certainly not the Egyptians, had any idea how God would do that. Nevertheless, Moses cried out to God.God told him to use what he had already given him, the rod. But Moses’ faith wasn’t in that rod.

Prayer, according to Garner, is based in belief, trust and faith.

“Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to HIm must believe that He exists…. That’s in Hebrews 11:6. Romans 10:17 says, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing from the word of God.

Garner admitted that she often finds herself praying the prayer of the father who asked Jesus to heal his son in Mark 9:24, “Lord I believe, help my unbelief.”

Forgiving others so that Christ will forgive us is an important component of prayer based on Matthew 6:14, Garner said.

“We pray because God works through people. Yes, He is sovereign, but He works through us to do His will. What the Father wants for us, we can trust. I learn to trust by studying His word,” she said.

Garner is looking at an ocean in her mind’s eye and holding fast to her faith (Hebrews 10:23). She doesn’t have a rod, like Moses, but she does have God’s word. She trusts that God who promised is faithful (Hebrews 10:23-25). Like the parable of the widow in Luke 18:1-8, she continues to pray, along with her network of fellow believer and with encouragement from a “great crowd of witnesses,” men and women of faith who have gone before her (Hebrews 12:1) reminding her to run with perseverance the race before her, and that God will be with her – even in the deep waters (Isaiah 43.2).