The world has much to pray about this New Year. The virus may be uppermost in your mind, but for now let’s go deeper than that. We all want to be happy and healthy and comfortable. So that is how we pray.
I propose that we are praying for the wrong things.
God has promised to hear us, to answer us, to be there with us. He has not promised to give us every item we ask for. His will is not for every person to be healed, happy and comfortable. His will is for every person to come to Him, to connect with Him in a real relationship of Love.
Matt. 7:7-8 Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.
“Ask and ‘it’ will be given to you.” What is ‘it’? It is that close, loving relationship with Jesus Christ our Lord. God has promised to give ‘it’ to us and He will, but we must seek for it – in truth.
Do we really want to hear God – or do we just want God to hear us? We cannot have one without the other.
Ps. 145:18 The Lord is near to all who call on him. To all who call on him in truth.
Yet at times, praying is hard work. Paul Miller describes it this way in his book A Praying Life.
“We last for about fifteen seconds, and then out of nowhere the day’s to-do list pops up and our minds are off on a tangent. We catch ourselves and, by sheer force of the will, go back to praying. Before we know it, it has happened again. Instead of praying, we are doing a confused mix of wandering and worrying. Then the guilt sets in. Something must be wrong with me. Other Christians don’t seem to have this trouble praying. After five minutes we give up, saying, “I am no good at this. I might as well get some work done.
Something is wrong with us. Our natural desire to pray come from Creation. We are made in the image of God. Our inability to pray comes from the Fall. Evil has marred our image. We want to talk to God but can’t. The friction of our desire to pray, combined with our badly damaged prayer antennae, leads to constant frustration. It’s as if we’ve had a stroke.”
Doubts begin to creep in. Does it even do any good to pray? Does God even care? Is there even a God out there? But we cannot admit our doubts to others – sometimes we cannot even admit them to ourselves. Then guilt begins to pile on top of doubt like ten thick woolen blankets, shutting out the light and the air.
Or maybe we have prayed non-stop for years for a friend’s healing or a family member’s salvation with no improvement whatsoever. Then we give up completely.
Paul Miller shares with us, “Life’s unexpected turns had created a path in my heart to God; God taught me to pray through suffering.”
Note what he said – “…created a path in my heart to God”. That is relationship! Relationship that was built in the hard times.
Praying is reaching out to God. It is connecting with Him no matter what happens afterward. He doesn’t need the ‘right words’ in the ‘right formula’. We need to lay ourselves before Him, to Love Him, to feel Loved by Him.
Matt. 6:6 But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
What is it that is heavy on your heart this New Year?
Go to God.
Lay it down at His feet and reach out – earnestly – for His love.
Seek God, not answers.
Seek God and He has promised you will find Him.