(Uncredited photo from Bing Images)
Does prayer make a difference? Most of us know that God isn’t exactly a wish bank: Insert your wish like an ATM card and pull out your heart’s desire. Um, no. Doesn’t exactly work that way. But what, exactly, does prayer do?
This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot this week as I’ve been weeding and weeding and yes, more weeding. I’ve been weeding our yard, AND boxes of cards and letters. Both activities have given me time to reflect on those heart-felt prayers from years–even decades ago–that have been so faithfully answered. Time gone by has helped me see why God might have slapped big-old WAIT or DETOUR signs on some of those fervent prayers of long ago. (Maybe for people today his messages sound more like Garmin’s “Recalculating.”?)
All those cards and letters reflected the “biggies” in life–my friends and I contemplated who to marry, what we should do with our lives, children. We prayed for, and encouraged each other,, and no, those letters I can’t “weed” out. But what about today? Does God just want to be at the center of the “biggies” in our life? Does God also care about that other patch of weeds I’ve been tackling (otherwise known as our backyard)? That Facebook post I’m thinking of writing? This blog post? What about the Skype visit earlier this week with a great group of kids at a big church in Ohio that’s using Sophie’s Quest as a book club book this summer?
Speaking of Sophie, prayer is also a major theme in the third Sophie book! Sophie and her friends may not have homes as the City is bankrupt and might need to sell off the Park for condos. What can be done? Sophie hatches a plan, and it’s a bit desperate, but it might just work. One small problem, though–she forgets to invite Sky Painter in to her planning and to ask him if this rather crazy scheme is something she should do. And that’s actually a big problem.
Do you forget to ask God in to the planning of things, big and small? Do you forget how faithful He’s been in the past and think you’ve got to do everything on your plate by yourself? I often forget that God is a rather polite God–He wants to be invited to come along! And, wow, can He make a difference when He shows up!
Wednesday morning, I was preparing for the Skype visit with the book club. No sweat, I thought! I talk to kids all the time! Then I started to think about it some more. I didn’t know these kids, or these leaders. It had all come up pretty spontaneously and we didn’t actually have a plan for the conversation–did they expect a presentation? Would they have questions? What if my own questions fell flat? What if they haven’t read much of the book yet and I can’t think of anything to say without spoiling the story? How long was the Skype visit going to be, anyway? Why, oh, why hadn’t I planned for this better?
Before I knew it, my hands were folded and my eyes were closed and I rather desperately invited God to be part of our conversation. To go before us. To be with us. To not let me say anything that He didn’t want me to say, and to help me remember to say all the things He did want me to say.
Long story short, the visit was fun! I even got a note from one of the leaders, telling me that “The Holy Spirit was so present during that meeting. I love seeing God work up close and personal, and you were such a big part of that!” Wow. Thanks, God!
No one has prayer “figured out.” It certainly doesn’t always turn out the way we expect or hope. But what I can say, is that God wants to be part of our day,for all the big and small things. When what we are doing is not “all about us,” it doesn’t have to be “all UP to us.” May God be part of your day today. Why don’t you ask?
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. Mathew 7:7-8