Often we labor under the illusion that prayer must be something formal, desperate, or magical. Sir Eric Roll tells the story of a little boy who was overheard praying fervently, “Tokyo, Tokyo, Tokyo.” Later, when he was asked why, the boy replied, “I just took my geography test in school and I’ve been praying to the Lord to make Tokyo the capital of France.”
Our prayers aren’t meant to miraculously change the world’s geography. They’re also not blank checks to guarantee us anything we want. “When we cry out in prayer for answers,” Pastor David Asscherick explains, “they may not come as we hope, but God Himself always does.”
When we pray, we commune with the Father and we gradually realize our total dependence on Him. Author Ty Gibson explains prayer this way: “Prayer doesn’t persuade God to do what He was unwilling to do. It opens the door of my freewill so He can do the good He always wanted to do.”
Sometimes God takes an indirect route to answer our prayers. The mother of Augustine prayed all night that God would stop her son from going to Italy because she wanted him to become a Christian. While she was praying, Augustine sailed away to Italy – where he later converted to Christianity. Naturally, his mother believed for a time that her prayers had gone unheard.
We really don’t know what God is up to when He says “wait” or “no” to our prayers. That’s where trust comes in.
“Prayer is not overcoming God’s reluctance. It is laying hold of His willingness.” – Martin Luther
Lord, thank you for always hearing my prayers. Amen.