Recently, my husband Merrill and I were reflecting back on a prayer we had prayed for over 30 years. It was a prayer God answered in His way and His timing long after we thought it was possible. We laugh now, but for years it was something heavy on our hearts that brought on lots of tears and difficult conversations. As Merrill and I reflected on how that prayer was finally answered 30 years later, I joked…”Be Careful What You Pray For”. That statement really made me stop and think. Are we really careful about what we pray for?
Prayer is one of those things many struggle with. Me included. It’s a topic many people do not feel comfortable talking about. Maybe you don’t know how to pray. Maybe you’re not even sure you believe in prayer. I get it. There have been many days when my mind is so scattered, or my heart is so heavy I don’t have the words. There have been times when I pray and I pray, and I don’t see God moving any of those mountains that the Bible talks about. But does that mean God’s not at work? Absolutely not! I have also seen prayer work. I have seen God move in mighty ways when His people pray. Rock Solid Families, for example, is an answer to a prayer Merrill and I have been praying for seven years. There is not enough room in this blog to share with you the countless ways I have seen prayer move mountains. But don’t take my word for it.
I am a part of a junior high bible study that meets every Thursday morning before school, and we’ve been talking about prayer. In this world of instant gratification, it’s hard for anyone, especially our teenagers, to understand the concept of waiting and trusting. So I asked them to go home and ask their parents about a time they prayed a desperate prayer and how God responded. It was so cool to hear the conversations that took place as moms and dads shared about God’s provision and power even in the wait.
If you’re not a praying person, start hanging around someone who is. They get it. They understand the power of prayer. Ask them to pray for you and even with you. Ask them to share why they believe in prayer. It’s not about the perfect or fancy words, but about having an honest conversation with a God who loves you and desperately wants an intimate relationship with you. God is not some kind of heavenly ATM. He’s more interested in the process than the product. He’s more interested in the relationship than the results. Trust me. He’s got a good plan for your life, and there’s not ONE thing, no matter how ugly it is, He can’t use for the good. (Jeremiah 29:11, Romans 8:28)
Here’s a little acronym we taught our students this week to help them. I thought maybe if you’re struggling with finding the words or knowing where to begin, you might want to give this a try too. It’s based on the model prayer Jesus gave us in Matthew 6: 5-15.
P-Praise. Start with thanking Him for who He is and what He has already done in your life. God deserves to be praised, and God blesses faithfulness. If God sees a sincere and grateful heart reach out to him, He will bless and protect you in ways you can’t even imagine. (Ephesians 3:20-21) Praise and thanks helps to position ourselves in a posture of humility and surrender, and that’s the best place to start in prayer. (Deuteronomy 10:20-21)
R-Repent. After the praise, it’s time to examine your own heart. Make sure there is nothing keeping you and God apart. Are you harboring unforgiveness? Is there a wall between you and God because of sinful actions? God will not bless your unfaithfulness. So if you feel like your prayers are not being answered, maybe He is waiting for you to make some changes in your life. Confess it to Him. He already knows, but much like a father, he is waiting for you to come clean. (Matthew 11:24-25)
A-Ask. Many believe they shouldn’t have to ask God for what they need. After all, He already knows, right? He does know, but just as a parent often waits for a child to ask for help, so does your Heavenly Father. There is great humility in the ask and many of us are too proud to admit that we need His help. Be specific. Praying for “world peace” doesn’t help you see God work. Be bold and ask God for what you really need. Trust me, He can handle it. And then keep your eyes and heart open for His answer. (Matthew 7:7-11, John 14:12-14)
Y-Yield.This is the tough one. Yielding means you stop resisting and trust in His answers and direction. You surrender YOUR way for HIS. If you’ve prayed about something and examined your heart, then it’s time to trust God for the answer. Let it go. Give it to Him. Stop worrying. Whether His answer is Yes, No, or Not Yet, you can trust He’s got a reason for His answer and a good plan for it all. His answer may not be just about you. It may be about someone you love or haven’t even met yet. When we truly turn it over to God in prayer and trust in Him for the answer, there is a peace that washes over us that is unexplainable even in the middle of the storm. (Philippians 4:4-7, Proverbs 3:5-6)
If you still have doubts and questions about prayer, I get it. I don’t have all the answers either, but I trust in and lean on a God who does. Which is why I need Him. I desperately need to go to the Lord EVERY DAY for my “daily bread”. Without Him, I become malnourished and starving spiritually. (John 6:35) I can even get “Hangry” If you’re spiritually hungry, and don’t know where to start, shoot me an email and let’s set up a time to talk. My email is email@example.com. I would be honored to talk with you more about prayer and a relationship with the Lord.
Lastly, if you’re wondering what that 30 year prayer was that was finally answered, tune in to Rock Solid Radio this Sunday evening, Oct. 7, 2018 at 7:30pm on Eagle Country Radio 99.3FM for the answer. If you’re reading this after October 7, you can find the recording of our Rock Solid Radio program on eaglecountryonline.com. I can’t give away the answer yet, but let’s just say...Be Careful What You Pray For!
ROCK SOLID RADIO…BUILDING A STRONGER COMMUNITY ONE FAMILY AT A TIME ON YOUR HOMETOWN RADIO STATION EAGLE COUNTRY 99.3FM