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I saw it multiple times on my Social Media News Feed today:
Prayer Works! Husband got a clean bill of health today!
Our offer on the house was accepted! Prayer works!
While I was elated for those who received such good news, it also pained me to see this idea that prayer works when you get what you want perpetuated. There are 3 questions you need to ask to see what I mean.
What is Prayer?
Prayer is a form of communication.
Sometimes we complicate it, but that’s what it is.
It’s connecting with God as one friend talking to another, but also in reverence as you approach the Almighty Creator.
What is an example of Prayer?
St. Augustine, St. Patrick, Mother Theresa, etc. all have eloquent, beautiful prayers. But if you’re looking for the best example, look no further than the Son of God Himself. In the Book of Luke, the Disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray. The long version is recorded in Matthew 6:9-13:
I go into more details about what this prayer means in another post here. But it’s important to note the order of this example from Christ Himself.
- His Sovereignty
- His Dominion
- His Ownership
Throughout the entire prayer, we see that the one praying is continually acknowledging God’s power over our own. No matter what happens in the situations around us, God is in control. If we pray with a heart that is expecting our way in our time, we are praying to ourself, not God. It’s not about us. It’s about God who alone sees the big picture and has a perfect plan, whether we believe it is right or not.
If we pray with a heart that is expecting our way in our time, we are praying to ourself, not God. https://sincerelyanchored.com/prayer-works Click To Tweet
How does God answer Prayer?
This is the answer we always want. We pray for God to take away the sickness, the hurt, or the obstacle in our way. We want God to do exactly what we’re asking. And we want it right away.
If we received a “Yes” every time, would we continue to trust Him? Would we learn from the hard times?
This one is hard to swallow. I prayed for 3 months that God would let my daughter prove the Doctors wrong and have functioning kidneys. Leading up to her birth, we never had a definitive answer that she wouldn’t make it, just that the lack of answers made them believe her condition could be fatal. I knew that God has the power of life and death and could make a miracle happen and have her live, so I prayed for that multiple times every single day.
The same 3-month timeframe (Nov-Feb) 7 years later and I was praying the same prayer. This time for my Dad when he was told he had non-alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver. My prayers hoping for a liver transplant evolved into praying for healthy kidneys and then for the cancer to disappear.
In both situations, God gave my requests a “No.” Do I understand why? Nope. But is God still good? Definitely.
While getting a “No” can be heartbreaking, a “Wait” answer can be just as difficult at times. “Wait” can be both positive and negative, but we often only see it negatively because we focus on the here and now. There is power in the “Wait.” “Wait” is where growth happens. It’s where we recognize a need for God and learn to rely solely on Him.
Prayer works. Period.
Prayer working doesn’t depend on us getting the answer we want. God is not a genie in a bottle granting us what we want. Prayer is realizing that our Heavenly Father didn’t create us then turn His back on us to struggle and go our own way.
Praying allows us to share every piece of our innermost being with our all-powerful Savior who longs for us to turn to Him. He doesn’t need it. He already knows us more than we know ourselves. But He loves us anyway and wants us to trust Him no matter the answer because prayer works.