Retroactive prayer

Retroactive prayer is something I do far too often, if one can possibly pray too often. I usually do this when someone has asked me to pray for a specific event, but I forgot to do so until after the event has occurred. Then I pray, “Dear Lord, please let it have gone well.”

Aside from the awkward grammar, I wonder if this practice is theologically questionable. If I didn’t feel it was important enough to remember when the prayer was needed…is it hypocritical to pray afterward? Can my prayers change something after it has happened? Am I only fooling myself that my ignorance of an outcome can spin out the time in which I can affect it through prayer? I don’t know.

But then I encounter a situation like this:

A distant acquaintance is facing trial, accused of molesting his three-year-old daughter. He and his wife are enduring a bitter divorce. His wife filed the complaint…and later recanted. The police are pursuing the case, despite the withdrawn complaint.

There are here two possibilities. 1) The mother may have lied, and as a result, the father is facing public scrutiny, humiliation and possibly jail time. 2) The accusation may be true, and a three-year-old girl has had to endure something much, much worse.

That the father is under suspicion I cannot change. It is what is happening right now, and my faith is, alas, not strong enough to disbelieve what is staring me in the face.

However, I can and do pray to affect the past: “Father God, let the mother have lied.” Because I’d much rather the adult endure pain and suffering than the child.

Is it effective? I don’t know. I have no way of knowing. Only God knows. But I take comfort in this: God is the same today and yesterday and tomorrow. He is outside of time, so it is no challenge for Him to hear my now-prayer and apply it to then-events. And I devoutly pray that He does.

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2 Responses to “Retroactive prayer”

  1. Dixie Says:

    I think you really hit it on your last paragraph. Also, when you’re not sure how to pray, pray in the Spirit so you’re in agreement with God’s will on the subject. He sometimes gives you revelation during that time to know how to go from there. Awesome – Wonderful – Glorious!

  2. jocelyn Says:

    Prayer is great before or after an event.. you never know maybe after the event is when the prayer is needed most.

    how is the little ones?

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