Here’s what I know about prayers: God always answers them. Always. Some of you might disagree with me but here’s what I know about God: He is faithful. What some people call an unanswered prayer, I call a prayer answered in a way people do not want the prayer answered—in other words, God said No. Or Not now. People often mistake God’s No as an unanswered prayer. So they keep praying the same prayer. And then get frustrated with God, believing he has not heard them! Not true! God hears us the first time! We just don’t listen to his answer! 😲
Here’s another thing I know about prayer. Often, we pray for one thing and it seems we get the exact opposite of what we prayed for! As if God were playing a joke on us! 🤪 For example, if we pray for patience, we will likely find ourselves faced with a very annoying person! But what better way to practice patience, right? And if we pray to be more forgiving, it is likely that someone we love may hurt us! But what better way to exercise the very thing we felt we needed work on, right? And if we pray to be more loving, we might find ourselves face to face with some very unlovable people! But what better way to learn to love, right? Even if we pray for God’s will to be done aren’t we, in fact, praying that our will not necessarily be done? 🙃 Need I go on? 🤨
Okay. So . . . is there any safe prayer? I mean, one where we won’t be tested? Hmm. 🤔 Probably not. So maybe we should not pray so much! No! 😮 That can’t be right. Paul tells us to “Pray without ceasing.” (1)
But here are a couple of ideas: 1) Praying is not always about asking for things. As a matter of fact, I believe the primary thing we should be asking for is forgiveness, not to be more patient or to be more forgiving or to be more loving. Trust me, we will have plenty of opportunities to learn about those things!! (But go ahead and ask for them if you like! 🙄) Jesus instructed his disciples to pray for daily bread, forgiveness, guidance, and protection. I fail to see mention of any other thing.
2) When Paul tells us to pray all the time, he means we should be talking to God all the time about everything—discussing things with him, airing our thoughts, venting our feelings, thanking him for his love and mercy and all his good gifts. And here’s the thing we often forget—listening to God is as important as talking to God! Then as we listen to God speak, we are given the thing we really need: “having the eyes of our hearts enlightened,” (2) so we will know what to do and then rely on “the immeasurable greatness of his power” (3) to give us the strength to do it.
Listening to God’s voice is where we need the most help, which brings me back around to my first point. God answers all our prayers. He talks to us all the time—we just don’t hear him . . . for two reasons mainly: 1) We are distracted, which we all need to work on! And 2) We do not recognize God’s voice! 😦 Why would we not recognize God’s voice? Because we do not talk with him nearly enough.
Think about it. When your best friend calls you on the phone, do you ever have to ask who is speaking?
1) 1 Thessalonians 5:17 2) Ephesians 1:18 3) Ephesians 1:19