I’ve been thinking about prayer. A lot. I am a great believer in prayer even though many are not answered in a timely manner nor are they answered as I often hope they will be. Why? Because of that “thy will be done” clause associated with heaven-bound requests.
Some might ask why pray at all if we know that the Lord will bestow upon us mere mortals only that which He wills? I suppose that is where faithful living enters the scene. We have hope in His holy promise that if we knock, He will answer in a manner that is best for us. Sometimes we don’t always know what that is, but He does.
I have experienced too many instances where I learned the Lord does know what He’s doing; where the resulting outcome really was the best one. In such circumstances, I am SO grateful that what I thought was a prayer was actually wishful thinking, and that Heavenly Father did NOT grant my wish but answered a prayer instead.
One day I had a talk with someone close to me who was discouraged. He posed the question that went something like this: “How do we know that things wouldn’t have turned out the same whether we prayed or not?” He had been going through a stretch of stress that had not been eased by answered prayer. I believe he was thinking, “Why bother? Nothing is happening.”
That’s when I remembered a “saying” about Pray Until Something Happens (PUSH – as in “push” the point? “Push” forward or ahead while waiting for the answer? I’m not sure about the significance of the acronym, but it is memorable.) I don’t think the advice means to stop praying all together once the “something” happens, but refers to praying about a particular problem, situation, condition, etc. until something happens to remedy or change THAT problem, situation, or condition.
This mantra also correlates with the scriptural admonition to “pray unceasingly” because there is ALWAYS something and someone to pray for. And that brings me to my AH-HAH moment. As I pondered my loved one’s frustrations with slow-to-be-answered prayers, I knew in my heart that prayers would be answered and soon – whether or not he was praying unceasingly. Why did I feel that impression? Because G.E. and I WERE praying unceasingly in his behalf, and we had been for weeks, months, years!
That’s when I realized that while we may “think” the “right” solution comes about even when we don’t pray, we may be forgetting all those prayers that others offer for us. And if you really think about it, an inestimable number of prayers are offered up for families, friends, leaders, victims, and even enemies. If someone is ALWAYS praying for someone else, prayers WILL be answered – in the Lord’s time and the Lord’s way, but I know this, too, He does listen to the prayers of the faithful and perhaps He more quickly extends His help OR His comfort because of such pleadings. I like to think so.