"I know God answers prayer......[right?]"
"God does answer prayer.....[doesn't He?]"
"Sure, I'll pray for you.....[but, maybe it is too late; maybe God won't answer.]"
I know in my head God can do anything, but my sick heart thinks maybe He really can't.
And so our minds go back and forth between knowing that God answers prayer and then not being sure He can/will. A downward spiral begins—when we don't see God answering specific prayers, we tend to stop praying. After all then I won't be disappointed when He doesn't move mountains or provide the money for the bills this month or bring someone I dearly love to faith. We also quit even thinking about asking for the "silly" things that we consider unimportant.
And then?? Cynicism becomes the operative thought pattern. We trust no one. After all there really is no one we can trust. Everyone or most everyone who supposedly loves us has let us down, disappointed us, not stood with us, or simply by their apathy (caught up in their own busyness) not cared. Even God hasn't come through like we thought he should. Prayer becomes something we avoid, thus avoiding more hurt and disappointment.
And then at the back of my mind, I really know what the problem is—There is a right and wrong way to pray and my way is wrong. (a lie)
But then God begins His work to change our thought pattern. Usually He does that through other people sharing what He has done for them.
When Shannon gave me A Praying Life by Paul E Miller, she reminded me of my forgotten statement, "I wish my prayer life were better," and then she added, "This book will do that." I saw the look in her eyes and knew she had found it true. I began reading and couldn't stop.
As I read, I couldn't help but think about what we were seeing in the book of John in our women's Bible study....Jesus talked to His Father all the time about everything. Their intimate relationship was obvious as he prayed in public and then privately for long periods of time. He told his disciples and followers that He could do nothing without the Father. He was always aware of the Father, "I and the Father are one." (John 10:30)
Of little consequence is my prayer "life."
Of big consequence is my awareness of God's presence.....if He is right here, right now, then I can talk to Him anywhere, anytime, right NOW. When a friend is sharing her "life," the good, the bad, and the ugly, I can ask my Father right then to bring change of heart, change of circumstances, change of focus. And I can believe He will work, He will move, He will accomplish his purpose.
Then I watch.....and watch....and sometimes watch some more as He writes the story, a story that usually is not simple or short. I talk more to the Father when reminded, and soon find that I am also changing as I pray Scripture for others...I see changes in me as I watch for changes in others; and then when the change begins to be evident, I praise, I thank, and do a happy dance with my ever present Father.
And so my faith grows. My awareness of God right here, right now becomes solidified.....my wall of belief grows higher and higher and higher. God is alive.....He answers prayer every day....He is working in me and others because of His STEADFAST LOVE and FAITHFULNESS.
I just need to keep asking as I keep my eyes open—wide open—and watch Him at work.
James 4:2b "...You do not have, because you do not ask."
[Let me know what you think after you have read A Praying Life.]
The act of writing, of sharing the circumstances, the gifts and the graces planned and carried out by my Savior and God brings joy, peace, and contentment to know that He has my life in His hands. My prayer for those who read, who share in what I continue to learn each day, many times through my weakness, is that you will be encouraged to look for God's presence and grace in your life also.