Does prayer really do anything? Honestly, I’ve doubted that a lot. But where do take feelings like that when you’ve grown up in the church and have been praying for years? That was the dilemma I found myself in this past year when God illuminated that faulty wiring in my faith.
I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it. I was so sure I’d always understood prayer when, in reality, I’d grasped very little of what it means to pray. And the deeper I dug, the more confused I became.
I realized that when my parents divorced during my childhood, my view of prayer had been drastically impacted. I began to doubt that God can really change things because He didn’t stop my parents from getting divorced. He didn’t save my family.
So how do we reconcile that? I think it starts with a gut-wrenchingly honest admission that we don’t have all the answers– namely because He is Lord and we are not. It starts with a proper view of what prayer is. It is not a pipeline to our worldly dreams, nor is it a penance for Christ’s sacrifice. Prayer is a natural overflow of the heart angled towards its creator. As I have realized, that makes for some brutal, bitter, and beautiful conversations with God. And yet, He is there for them all.
Prayer is a natural overflow of the heart angled towards its creator.
Sometimes I wonder where I stand in the cosmic transaction of action. That is to say: If I don’t pray for something that God desires, will He still bring it to action? My answer to myself– and to you– is yes. God is not limited by humans and He isn’t playing a game with us, waiting for the magic words so He can spring into action.
I also know that God desires us to partner with Him, to grow our faith, to spread His name, and to accomplish His purpose here on the earth. We are His hands and feet.
I know that through prayer God has healed my heart. He has healed my mind. He has healed my relationships. He has found me places to live, Jonathon friends I have longed for (1 Samuel 18), and a job I love. He has restored my running career and He has taken my shame.
And those are just (a few) prayers from my life. So, no, I don’t understand all there is to know about prayer, and I’m not going to keep pretending I do. But I do know that we serve a powerful, loving God who is eager to fill us with wisdom as we pray (haha) for more of it.
So when I tell someone I’m praying for them, it is no longer the Christian version of “Good luck.” It is the battle cry of a daughter of Christ who knows our God answers.
Ps. This year, my spiritual focus is on prayer. Join me as I learn and share what God is teaching me about prayer. You can subscribe to my blog to make sure you don’t miss any of the action!