I’m still learning about prayer and God. We’ll never have all the answers, will we? But today, I heard something that stopped me in my tracks. Well, there is more to it than that, more to my revelation about prayer today.
I have been watching The Chosen. It’s a wonderful series about the lives of Mary Magdalene, Simon Peter, Nicodemus, and Matthew, Bible characters, and their encounters with Jesus. So many times, Jesus answers questions, and other times he says, “That’s a question for another time” or “that’s a topic for another time.” I assume that Jesus knew a lot needed to occur before understanding the answer or the truth.
Today, I was listening to a CD by Graham Cooke, and he talked about prayer. I feel sure we all have times when it seems we will never hear from God or that He will not answer our prayers. Jesus told parables about being persistent in prayer. I’ve always understood that to mean we keep asking until God relents. Cooke made an excellent point. His understanding of those parables is that we do keep asking, but every day our knowledge of what we need may increase as our understanding of what we need may change. So, we may ask for a simple answer at first. Please help my son find a job. As we talk and I listen to God through his Word, I start to understand there is a more significant work going on in my son and God’s relationship. Now my prayer may be that God would open the eyes of his heart to see how much God loves him and will provide. I continue to pray, and the next time I pray for his guidance and wisdom. The point is, my relationship with God is changing. My heart is open to God’s guidance and wisdom in knowing what to pray. I see new possibilities and new prayer direction. I find myself depending on God more and how God is working in my son’s life.
The result is a strengthening of both of our relationships with God, and he got a job! In the beginning, Jesus may have been saying to me, “That’s nice, Sherry, but why settle for that?” Maybe God was saying that to me for the three months I prayed so earnestly for my son. Or maybe God was waiting for James to receive the blessing with gratefulness or maybe for the best job to open. Only God knows, but I know I had never thought that I was limiting the blessing by my small prayers. It never occurred to me to keep growing in my understanding of God and prayer.
There are no magic formulas or posture, or words. There is always growth and revelation! There is no vending machine in the sky so that we put in a prayer, and out comes our desired answer. It’s always about relationship and God’s desire to bless.
How does your approach to prayer need to change? What must you do to receive the full blessing of God?