Becoming The Answer To Our Own Prayers

"I prayed for freedom twenty years, but received no answer until I prayed with my legs." 
- Fredrick Douglas

"Prayer changes things." 
"I'm sure they felt the prayers." 
"They could really use our prayers right now." 
"Our thoughts and prayers are with you." 
"We all need to say a prayer right about now."  

People of faith have all kinds of ideas about prayer, and all manner of platitudes to describe them.  

The above list includes just a few of the platitudes that I've used on occasion when I'm responding to a need, a tragedy or simply to comfort and encourage someone.   

I think if we're being truly honest with ourselves, there have been more than a few times in our lives when we have simply said that we "would be praying" for someone or something when we didn't really know what else to say.  

Meanwhile, we are secretly still asking questions about prayer like: "So what happens when we pray?"  "Does it really make any difference?" "What if my prayer goes unanswered?"  

For the record, I do believe that prayer changes things and that it makes a difference--just not in the same way I once believed.  In fact, my entire attitude toward prayer has shifted over the years in ways that have transformed and enlivened my prayer life.    

Rather than approaching prayer as a way to beseech the Divine for some request or another, I've come to view prayer as a way of keeping company and connection with God.  And I also have come to see that the "thing" that prayer changes is actually me.  

When we pray, we open up the possibility of a deeper connection with an understanding of the energizing and convicting Spirit of God all around us, in us, and through us.  We have the potential to be more aware of God's will and desires for us.  

And we also can begin to realize that 9 out of 10 times we are the answers to our own prayers.  When this happens, we soon discover new ways to approach problems, new perspectives to our struggles and a new way forward when the path seems unclear.  

This kind of approach to prayer frees us from seeing prayer as if we are constantly asking God for favors that God may or may not grant.  Instead, it allows us to find ways to align our will with God's and to let ourselves be transformed and made new.  

May you pray today with a renewed sense of optimism and hope.  May you discover your relationship with God deepen through your prayers.  And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.  


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