Have you prayed for something and never got the response you expected? Have you prayed for healing for a family member and still watched them suffer in pain? Have you fasted and prayed only to be hurt by God’s silence? Well, you are not alone. I’ve been there – several times. If I can be real with you as my faith cautions me to be, sometimes I ask my self “what’s the point of praying if I’m not going to get what I’m asking for?”. Don’t judge me yet.
If I’ll be real with you again, we’ve been wrong about the objective of prayer – this is why we’re often left broken and disappointed. Growing up, I was told to pray to God whenever I needed something, so I grew up with a selfish mindset about prayer = “it’s supposed to be when I want something and how I want it”. I became selfish and misunderstood the objective of prayer. But prayer is not truly about us. Prayer is beyond us. It is something we do to stay connected with our maker and not an executive order. Prayer goes beyond our needs and wants.
Picture this: You’re a parent and you have a son/daughter. Your child only talks to you when he/she needs something. After they get what they want, they go back to their room, lock the door and just live their life.
The next morning, they come to you and ask for a ride for school – you drop everything you’re doing to drop them off. On the way to school all they do is stay on their phone, smile and giggle while texting their friends or consuming the plethora of information on social media. You try to start a conversation, but you get ignored. You drop them off. The story stays the same when you pick them up.
This time, they ask you nicely with the puppy face “daddy, can you please get me the XboxOne today?” Your child is sweet after all, so you can’t deny them. You get them the XBoxOne hoping it will make them happy and possibly strike a conversation with you. Failed. A week later, they break up with their boyfriend/girlfriend, and at their lowest of lows, they reach out for consolation. You console them and encourage them. After a week, they get better and ignore you again.
At the age of 16, with a provisional license, they ask you for a Ferrari. They know you can certainly afford it, but you know what’s best for them; you know they can’t simply handle such a car at a young age. You know the “fast life, in the fast line” is detrimental to their development, so you get them something for a start – a Honda Accord. They get furious and frustrated with you forgetting that you meant well. This time they ignore you for more than a week for not getting the Ferrari they wanted. My question is, would you want to be this parent? In this position? I bet not.
This is how we sometimes treat God, but God wants more than just providing for our needs and wants. He is our Father. He will always be there and provide for us – especially our needs. But prayer digs deeper than that – prayer builds a bond, establishes a connection, strengthens our faith and builds a beautiful relationship through endless love, strong mercy and sufficient grace.
When my dad was sick, I remember praying for God to heal him completely; but he passed. At first I was hurt and upset and I asked God, “what in the world is the point of praying?” forgetting that, just like a father, He knows best and I should trust Him in ALL situations and all circumstances. Tough, but no one said it was going to be easy. Prayers shouldn’t leave us broken and disappointed – it should fortify us, give us peace and hope. God is okay with us asking him for things, but he wants more than that. Just like the father, He loves us endlessly and wants to commune with us. He wants to build that bond. Who are we that He is so mindful of us? We are nothing to be honest, but He chose us. He chose to create us in His image and likeness. He chose to make us unique and He chose to relate to us. Prayer is what bridges the gap. It’s what connects us to Him. He enjoys talking to us and loves hearing about our day, our struggles and our problems. Just like the father, He wants something uniquely deeper with us and we shouldn’t deny Him of that. About our wants, believe that He has heard them all, but trust that He knows best and we should trust his answers: Yes, No, and Wait. He knows best and will never lead as astray.
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