In the world of the believer, prayer is as fundamental as a net to a trapeze artist; believers don’t go anywhere without prayer. Life is too risky a proposition to chance a moment, day or lifetime without the support of prayer. Is praying to God a crutch, an eternal aid to believers that gets them through the day; something that we just cannot live without, a part of our existence that is necessary for our lives to mean anything?
So if prayer is so important to our existence, why don’t we do it more often? Maybe it is because we are not yet convinced that prayer works…every time …..all the time. Maybe we think that, like insurance, God is here for the really big stuff, but he can’t be bothered for the little things, so we don’t submit the small claims to God, only the big ones. If we think like that, we could not be more wrong. Our god is the God of everything, big and small He cares about it all. This is why I know He cares about everything (other than reading the Bible where I am told He knows the number of hairs on my head).
Three years ago I started writing in a journal almost every morning. Sometimes I write about my personal failures from the previous day, sometimes it is the accomplishments or a thank you to God for something He has done, or story ideas; but always there is a prayer request. A request to God for help for me, my family, friends, or for a disaster in a country I’ve never visited. The key is that I write my prayers to God in my journal every morning. For me, writing them down makes the prayers seem more real; as if I take the time to put pen to paper then, I really care about the subject of the prayer. I’ve also learned that it allows me to revisit my prayers to see if they have been answered. That one byproduct of writing down my prayers has been the most important faith growing mechanism in my recent life.
I have documented proof that God listens to me, cares about what I need, and answers my prayers with the only solution that is timed perfectly to what is best for me, or whomever I prayed for.
This week I checked off a prayer that was two years old, one that was three days old, and had one answered with, “not quite yet.” When I wrote each in my journal I hoped for a quick response from God; maybe a week or two at most. Clearly God has a different time frame than me. He has also informed me that He can answer prayers with, yes right now, yes in a future time, and no, not a chance!
Our motivation for the prayer will determine God’s final response.
In 9th grade I had two reoccurring prayers: please God let me pass my English test, and let Cindy say yes when I ask her to the dance. I never studied for English, but I always promised God I would next week if He would help me on my test this week. My English grades were really bad in school. And, Cindy never even knew my name because I never had the guts to introduce myself. God knew that there was the girl for me and she wasn’t Cindy; it just would be another ten years before I met her. (God’s answer was, yes, but not Cindy and not now.) To get prayers answered we need a foundation on which to lay the prayer: trust and belief. It looks like a triangle. Trust and belief are on the bottom and prayers are the intersection of the lines at the top. If we don’t trust that God will do what is best for us; if we don’t believe that God will answer every prayer we send to Him, then the prayer won’t work. It will fall like an unsupported post standing in the desert. However, if the post is supported in two directions, it will stand firm against the wind and rain. Think about how three triangles make a pyramid; if we link supported prayers together we create a structure that is the strongest and most stable design ever created. So then, our charge is to:
Believe that God hears and answers every prayer.
I challenge everybody to write their prayers down. It may seem a daunting task, but knowing that God answers every prayer is so fulfilling, that the time spent writing the prayer is meaningless compared to the revelation that the creator of the universe has your phone number on His speed dial.
God listens because you matter.
This reminds me of how my large computer screen looked with post-it notes attached of prayer requests for my family, friends, and for myself. The screen would only have prayer requests, so they constantly reminded me to stop my busy day and pray. When prayers were answered, the note came down. God’s response time outlasted the glue that held many of the notes. Those notes also reminded me to call the person who’s name was on them, just to let them know I was praying for their need. We all need to learn to stop throughout the day to have a chat with God.