Recently a friend sent me an email asking about prayer. As I answered her email, I was compelled to share my answer with you. Prayer can be confusing if you don’t understand that it is about you conforming to God and not the other way around. As you take time to read this short post, consider the intent of your prayer life. Why do you pray?
Prayer is an interesting thing. Certainly the more I grow in my prayer life the more questions I have. It is true that the Scripture teaches us to ask in faith and it will be given to us. Jesus also teaches us to pray like a neighbor who shows up in the middle of the night asking for bread. He is told to go away 3 times. Finally the master of the house gets up and gives him what he needs. Jesus is teaching us to pray with vigor and persistence.
At the same time, God answers prayer in a number of ways. Sometimes its a quick yes. Sometimes its a wait a while and then a yes. Sometimes its a wait a while and then a no. Sometimes its a quick no. This used to frustrate me until I realized that prayer is about God shaping me and conforming me to His pattern for my life.
It is not so much about the answer to the prayer as it is who I am becoming as I pray. Prayer is not about getting what I want. Instead it is about becoming who He wants me to be. As that happens my wants and desires become His wants and desires.
Prayer is a journey and God chooses to teach us along the way. I would encourage you to look back at this journey you have been on in prayer. Ask God to show you what he has been teaching you. Write those things down so that you can see the progression of the journey. There are most certainly things Jesus has been teaching you about you as you have prayed and struggled in prayer.
You will know that you are completely trusting God when you are able to rest in Him. When you are able to be content with a yes, no, or not yet, and simply rest in the assurance that God has it in His hands…that is your indicator that you are trusting God completely. There is a Hebrew word for this: “Shalom.” We translate it in English as “Peace” but it is more than that. It is a deep soul rest or peace because of faith that God is at work and making things the way they should be. I pray that you will experience Shalom as you think about all of this. It is possible this is part of your journey.
You are not doing anything wrong. Instead you are doing a lot right. You are praying. You are seeking wise counsel and you are trying to trust. The way I see it…you are on the right path. I will pray for you today.