Becoming the Answer To Your Prayers
I've written a few Devos on prayer over the last several years, but I always feel like I haven't mined the topic for all it's worth, and I keep coming back to it.
There's a reason for this, to be fair.
I get a lot of questions about prayer in my role as a pastor. And almost all of the questions I get are in some way connected to the main question that everyone seems to have about prayer, which is: What difference does prayer really make?
It's a challenging question because we all so desperately want our prayers to be answered... Or at the very least, we want to know that when we pray that we are being heard that somewhere out there God is paying attention.
The trouble occurs when prayers go unanswered. Or worse, when it seems as though the answer we get is the exact opposite of what we were praying for.
For many people, this is the point when they begin to struggle with praying at all or they begin to wonder if God just might be arbitrary and capricious---favoring some people while seemingly cursing others.
Recently, I was reading from Suzanne Henley's excellent book on prayer, Bead by Bead: The Ancient Way of Praying and I came across this awesome quote:
I have no idea whether prayer produces any external results. I have come to believe, though, if nothing else, it is where I most squarely meet myself. I think it is the psychic glue between my conscious and shadow self where we all wrestle with Jacob's angel and count our scars later.I tend to disagree a bit with Henley in that I do believe that prayer produces external results. I have come to understand that when we pray, we enter into the Divine flow between us and everything, which definitely creates action.
But, on the other hand, I agree wholeheartedly that when I pray, I encounter myself more often than not. I quickly discover that almost every obstacle in my life or challenge set before me is either caused by me or has my fingerprints all over it.
As a result, I've come to understand that I am generally the answer to my own prayers.
It is definitely the Spirit of God that moves me to be better, to do more, to change, to act, to repent... But then the ball is placed squarely in my court.
It's almost like God is replying to my prayers, "Yes, I agree that would be a great thing---what are you going to do make that happen." Or "The outcome to this might not be what you desire, how are you going to respond?"
As you pray today, may your prayers be pathways of discovery for you as you determine God's desires for your life. May you become the answer to your prayers. May you pray without ceasing. May you feel heard and known and loved.
And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.