Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What Good Does it Do to Pray?

When things don't go as I like, especially if I've spent some time praying, I question God. When prayers go unanswered or are answered contrary to my wishes, I doubt God's faithfulness. Does He really hear us?

I prayed my whole life for my parents' marriage only to have them split up a week before their thirtieth anniversary.

I prayed for God to sell our first house. It took seven years!

I pray things for my kids which haven't transpired.

I ask God for direction and hear the same thing, "Just keep doing what you're doing."

Is it awful of me to admit that often I wonder what good praying does? I don't get the answers I hear others get. I don't have those "It's a God thing" moments. My prayer life feels like a series of endurance tests, of waiting, waiting, waiting for God's perfect timing which never coincides with mine. Just once I'd like to see an answer right away.

But if I had my answer right away, would I forget it as quickly as it came? Does the waiting make me remember? Which requires more faith, getting what you ask for when you ask for it, or having to wait?

And what exactly does God promise us in prayer?

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:6-7
It doesn't say have your prayer answered and you'll find peace. It says present your requests to God and His peace will guard your heart and mind.

Present: give something to (someone) formally or ceremonially

Does this mean prayer is not what God gives us. It's what we give God?

Have I been missing out on peace because I'm not doing my part in giving up the problem?

What good does it do to pray? Nothing, if I'm not trusting God enough to really give it up. But when I do, He soothes. He comforts. His presence brings me rest. He teaches me perseverance which His Word tells us makes us mature and complete.

Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.

Psalm 62:8
Amen and amen.

Are you presenting your requests to God?

Photo Credit: aronki

1 comment:

Tami said...

I came across a quote recently.
"Prayer is not overcoming God's reluctance. It is laying hold of His willingness", by Julian of Norwich. Sometimes an attitude shift makes all the difference for me. I love this quote. Blessings, Tami