If we’re honest, I suspect we’ve each grappled with questions about prayer at some point in our lives. Maybe even at this point in our lives.
When our youngest was little, he struggled to understand what prayer was all about. His questions sprang from the fact that he didn’t see God answering prayers in his own life. As adults, we know God answers in different ways. But a child, who thinks concretely, has a difficult time accepting this.
One day, a friend caught him a newt. Edmund needed to find earthworms to feed his new pet. We said a quick prayer, and then both boys scrambled into the backyard to dig in the dirt.
Even as adults, understanding the workings of prayer and how God views prayer can feel beyond us.
Thoughts on prayer
Is it possible we don’t see God’s answers to prayer because we’re looking for the wrong thing? Let’s consider a few questions that have come up as I’ve explored prayer personally and in various online arenas.
Praying for the same thing
First, why should we continue to pray when we feel like our prayers are always the same because our needs don’t really change?
Prayer can be similar to manna. Does God know our needs? Yes. So why do we pray each day for the same kinds of things?
Because each day we pray, we’re reminded God is still listening. Still answering. In lifting thoughts and needs to Him, we receive spiritual nourishment daily, like the Israelites in the desert.
Our Father knows our hearts, but He also enjoys communing with us. A little like how my sons, when they were young, came to me each day with a specific question. “Mom, what are we having for supper?”Good Perspectives for Our Questions About Prayer—Our Father knows our hearts, but He also enjoys communing with us. #tellhisstory #prayer #questionsaboutprayer Click To Tweet
They may not have known what I was preparing but they knew they’d be fed. And I smiled because they asked. We may have even had our own little verbal dance with the answer to that question.
Maybe prayer is a little like this. God knows our needs, but He still delights when we humble ourselves and trust those needs to Him for one more day. He doesn’t view our bringing the same cares before Him each day as a burden. Instead, He sees it as an opportunity to commune with us.
Each morning, Hubs and I exchange prayer requests for our days. Most of the time, they are pretty similar. But I love praying for my guy, knowing I’m lifting him and his needs to the Lord fresh for that day.
Why hasn’t God answered my prayer after years of praying?
I still struggle with this question. There isn’t a pat answer for why God sometimes seems silent. What has helped me in those times are these thoughts:
- God is sovereign. And in His sovereignty, He acts in love toward us. Our Father loves us and knows what’s best for us, even when we don’t embrace, understand, or agree at the moment.
- God always hears our prayers. Our Father’s seeming silence does not equate to His not caring, ignoring, or disregarding our prayers.
- Sometimes, God is putting other things in place in our lives before He answers.
- When He doesn’t respond in our time frame, our Father is still acting. He works in our hearts, conforming us to the image of His Son. God strips away the veneers we’ve put in place so we become more like Jesus. He also moves in others’ lives when we walk in faith while waiting for His answer.
Shifting our perspective
Sometimes, we need to shift our perspectives about God’s seeming silence. I’ve been guilty of taking those silences personally and attributing His lack of an answer to my perceived unworthiness. If this is a belief we hold, we need to ask the Lord for a more accurate understanding of how He views us.
Here’s a hint: God views us through eyes of love. Not judgment. Not unworthiness.
Our questions about prayer don’t intimidate or bother God.
We can become disheartened and cynical when we’ve prayed for years for something. We must evaluate any expectations we have of God. Choose to trust that He has our good (and our loved one’s good) at the heart of His decisions.
Surrender is a humbling action. Yet, it’s in surrendering that we find eventual peace in the silence.
The essence of prayer is talking with our Father about what’s on our hearts and bringing our questions about prayer before Him.
Prayer is about us communing with God. He’s not judging us on our presentation; He’s listening to our hearts. He doesn’t decide whether or not to answer by how perfectly we word our oration.
God delights in talking with us. Just as we may have smiled when our littles ran to us with their exuberance to ask a question, crawled into our laps for some cuddles, or wanted clarification on a topic, our Father smiles when we want to connect with Him. So, of course, He’s not critiquing the method of our prayers.
Back to earthworms. As our sons dug, sunshine glinting on their hair, they found several worms! God answered that prayer concretely. Though they haven’t always held to that childlike faith, God continues to answer their prayers and Hubs’ and my prayers for them.
As we each grapple with our questions about prayer in our relationships with the Lord, let’s land on these truths:
God loves us always.
He is forever unchanging and trustworthy.
Our Father does hear our prayers.
He will answer our prayers.
Let’s be like the persistent widow and continue to come before Him with our hearts.
What about you? What questions about prayer do you grapple with? What is your most powerful answer to a prayer you prayed?Come share your story at the Tell His Story linkup. Connect and be encouraged by like-minded friends! #tellhisstory #linkup Click To Tweet
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