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Proof that prayer works

God proved He’s listening once again, this time answering prayers for Anastasia, a beautiful horse we saved from slaughter 18 months ago. Notice the title of this blog didn’t pose the question, “Does prayer work?” That ship sailed for me years ago.

Image of Anastasia, the beautiful horse we saved from slaughter.

Baffled recently by several consecutive days of Anastasia‘s miraculous healing, where she didn’t have to choke down poisonous drugs just to be able to walk, and we didn’t have to lock her in an air conditioned stall to keep her from dropping dead from anhidrosis, I found the answer in our Facebook news feed.

There is a reason Anastasia is in better condition than she’s ever been since we brought her to Swingin’ D Horse Rescue from a kill pen more than 18 months ago. I had totally forgotten that back on July 2, I asked our followers to pray for Ani’s total healing – and you did. Since then, our beautiful horse has a new lease on life. Prayer works, and I can show you how.

Coincidence? Or Divine Providence?

Some people will say Ani’s recovery is just a fluke – a coincidence brought about by determined humans, consistent diet and dumb luck; but believers know the truth. We know, because God has given us reason to believe.

I have known that prayer works for years. That ship sailed for me after – in a dangerous agnostic funk – I decided to give it a try.

“What did I have to lose?” I reasoned.

I was already at rock bottom and believed God couldn’t do any more harm than I had already done with my life.

My exterior had it all – money, youth, beautiful and healthy children, notoriety, success – but my interior was rotten to the core. I had not quite reached the point of planning my suicide, but I thought constantly about the relief of never waking up. It got to the point where loved ones were so concerned about my broken will, they called an ambulance to my home, fearing I had taken enough sedatives to test my theory. (I had not, but that’s how bad it got.)

God: My personal genie in a bottle

I had prayed before – halfheartedly, briefly and silently in my head – usually for God to perform some trick to prove his worth. Those days, I saw God as kind of a genie in a bottle that I could whip out in those Oh God moments. The more he failed to perform, the more I resented and doubted him.

But in this moment, I dropped to the ground, prostrated myself before God, and prayed. Really prayed.

I didn’t ask for a pretty pony or a car or a better job or the adoration of some man; I begged for God to forgive all the times I knew the right path but chose the easier or more stimulating one; to light my path and give me the strength and courage to follow it; to use whatever skills and experience He’d given me to glorify Him; for others to see His goodness and mercy in me; and I humbly asked God to heal my broken spirit.

Not always the answers I seek

There is no way I could ever impress upon you how lost and broken I was, so there’s no way you can fathom the awesome power of God’s healing grace in my life. Hopefully you can trust me when I tell you that after that one heartfelt prayer, I went from vacillating between resenting God; believing that if he existed, I was his sick entertainment; and wondering if he was some omniscient, omnipresent disciplinarian humans invented to keep us in line, to knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt He was real, and that he loved me with a boundless love.

God didn’t answer my prayers with stuff. He didn’t make people love and accept me. In fact, He didn’t do anything to change my circumstances in that moment. But he gave me clarity, pointed me towards a purpose, and gave me strength and courage to face life on life’s terms. He helped me to let go of expectations, to accept others exactly where they are in life. For the first time, I had faith. I understood that as long as I sought and followed His path, things would work out according to His plan; and while I may not reap earthly rewards, He would always provide what I need.

Does God pick favorites?

While I do believe with all my heart that God works miracles – that He heals the terminally ill and brings His creatures back from certain death – I can’t tell you much else. How He chooses who benefits, or why some believers still suffer, even after fervent prayer… That’s all a mystery to me. I am also not saying that from some fancy throne in heaven, God decided that of all the prayers from all the believers in all of the world, Ani was somehow worthy of healing while others were not. Plenty of my pleas for miracles have come back with different results.

But I do believe God answered our prayers. I’m just grateful that today, I recognize His answers.

How God answered prayers for our beautiful horse

Image of our beautiful horse's infected front hoof

Anastasia’s abscess started at the coronary band and ran down the hoof wall to her sole, rendering her hopelessly lame.

  • Seconds after I posted the plea for prayers for Ani, our farrier recommended actions that would speed the healing of the enormous abscess that ravaged half her front hoof. I believe God answered our prayers with the gift of knowledge.
  • Minutes later, one of our favorite adopters (also a believer) recommended a woman who healed her critically lame horse to the point where he no longer required daily medications. Not only that, she offered to pay for Ani’s initial sessions. I believe God answered our prayers with the gift of charity.
  • In advance of Ani’s appointment, the healer instructed me to add lemongrass oil to Ani’s feed. She said it kills infection from the inside out. Again, God blessed us with the knowledge we needed to help Ani heal.
  • I found an amazing deal on eBay for some therapeutic boots I’ve always wanted for Ani, but couldn’t afford. I believe God blessed me with the gifts of curiosity and tenacity.

Bring on the blessings!

Within a week of implementing these cascading miracles, Ani was walking normally for the first time in months. She held her head up high and strutted around like the priceless beauty she is.

After 18 months of worrying, crying, and wondering if I was selfishly prolonging Ani’s life, I’m praying we’re finally on the right track! Hopefully, we’ve discovered the right combination of diet, supplements and maintenance to allow our little unicorn to live like a normal horse.

Skeptics might say we arrived at this juncture through sheer determination (and a ton of money). They’ll say the timing of the prayers and miracles was pure coincidence. That’s fair.

But think of all the blessings you’re missing out on if you’re wrong. What do you have to lose?